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Close up image of ear with earwax buildup.

You probably don’t give a lot of thought to earwax buildup unless you’re in the process of cleaning it out. Nonetheless, comprehending what causes earwax, how it develops, and its purpose is essential.

So why does earwax build-up?

Earwax, scientifically identified as cerumen, is a thick blend of debris, hair, skin particles, sweat, and ceruminous gland secretions. This earwax presents with a waxy consistency and can exhibit shades of orange, yellow, gray, or brown.

While the production amount of earwax varies from individual to individual, adults usually generate less earwax than children. Moreover, adult earwax is usually darker and harder compared to that of kids.

Earwax gets expelled or washed out after passing the outer ear canal and reaching the opening of the ear.

Why is earwax important?

Here are a few crucial functions that earwax serves:

  • Preventing itchiness and dryness by moisturizing and protecting the lining of the ear canal.
  • Fending off potential infections that may occur within the ear canal.
  • Acting as a protective barricade against external irritants like dirt, dust, and other foreign particles before they penetrate deeper into the ear.

Earwax obstructions

Usually, there’s no crucial need to remove earwax from your ears unless it becomes impacted, a common issue associated with earwax. In some cases, earwax is unable to easily get to the opening of the ear as a result of narrow or unusually shaped ear canals.

Improper ear hygiene methods, such as using cotton swabs or bobby pins, can inadvertently force wax deeper into the ear canal.

Earwax obstructions are often experienced by people who often use earplugs, earbuds, or hearing aids.

How excessive earwax can affect hearing

Auditory health may be hindered and you might feel minor discomfort.
Ringing in the ears, or tinnitus, might also occur.

Acoustic trauma might result in long-term hearing impairment, perforated eardrums, and long-term hearing loss if earwax obstructions go ignored.

Addressing impacted earwax

If you think you have an earwax blockage, consulting us promptly is imperative. Depending on the extent of the blockage, you might be advised to use over-the-counter wax softening drops or a bulb syringe for gentle irrigation to relieve the condition.

If you’re worried about your earwax buildup, call us today to schedule an appointment.

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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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