What Causes Earwax Accumulation?

Close up image of ear with earwax buildup.

Chances are, earwax and its accumulation haven’t been subjects of significant contemplation for you, except maybe during ear hygiene sessions. Still, it’s crucial to have an understanding of its purpose and how it develops.

So why does earwax build-up?

Earwax, scientifically called cerumen, is a dense combination of debris, hair, skin particles, sweat, and ceruminous gland secretions. This earwax presents with a waxy texture and can exhibit shades of orange, yellow, gray, or brown.

In most circumstances, kids tend to produce more earwax than adults. Moreover, adult earwax tends to be darker and denser compared to that of children.

Earwax passes the outer ear canal leisurely, ultimately reaching the ear opening, where it either self-expels or gets washed out during bathing.

Why is earwax important?

Earwax serves several essential functions, such as:

  • Preventing itchiness and dryness by moisturizing and safeguarding the lining of the ear canal.
  • Acting as a protective barrier against external irritants like dirt, dust, and other foreign particles before they infiltrate deeper into the ear.
  • Helping counter ear infections.

Obstructions caused by earwax

Typically, there’s no crucial need to remove earwax from your ears unless it becomes impacted, a common issue linked to earwax. Impacted earwax can stem from narrow or abnormally shaped ear canals hindering the normal movement of earwax toward the ear’s periphery.

Wax can be unintentionally crammed up into the ear canal by utilizing improper cleaning practices like using cotton swabs.

Individuals wrestling with hearing loss who make use of earplugs or hearing aids are also predisposed to experiencing ear canal obstructions.

How too much earwax can impact hearing

Auditory health may be hindered and you might feel minor discomfort.
Additionally, significant buildup of earwax can induce tinnitus, a sensation of ringing in the ears.

Untreated earwax obstructions might escalate into middle ear infections, perforated eardrums, or enduring hearing loss as a result of acoustic trauma.

How do you deal with impacted wax?

If you think you have an earwax blockage, consulting us quickly is imperative. You may be advised to use over-the-counter products such as a bulb syringe or earwax softening drops to clear the wax out, depending on the extent of the obstruction.

Give us a call right away if you need some help with an earwax obstruction.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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