Why Does Earwax Accumulate?


Close up image of ear with earwax buildup.

Chances are, earwax and its accumulation haven’t been subjects of extensive contemplation for you, except perhaps during ear hygiene sessions. Nonetheless, comprehending what causes earwax, how it forms, and its purpose is crucial.

What initiates the buildup of earwax?

Earwax, also scientifically called cerumen, is made up of a mix of sweat, skin particles, hair, debris, and ceruminous gland secretions. Earwax will show up as a waxy substance that will typically be yellow, orange, brown, or even grey.

While the production amount of earwax varies from person to person, adults typically produce less earwax than children. Children also normally have softer earwax that’s lighter in color than adults.

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

Why is earwax essential?

Here are some crucial functions that earwax serves:

  • Fending off potential infections that might occur within the ear canal.
  • Acting as a protective barricade against external irritants including dirt, dust, and other foreign particles before they penetrate deeper into the ear.
  • Protecting and moisturizing the skin lining the ear canal, thus preventing dryness and itchiness.

Blockages caused by earwax

Usually, there’s no imperative need to clean out earwax from your ears unless it becomes impacted, a prevalent problem linked to earwax. Impacted earwax can stem from narrow or unusually shaped ear canals hindering the natural movement of earwax toward the ear’s periphery.

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

People grappling with hearing loss who use earplugs or hearing aids are also susceptible to experiencing ear canal blockages.

How too much earwax can affect hearing

Auditory health might be hindered and you may feel slight discomfort.
Ringing in the ears, or tinnitus, could also happen.

Acoustic trauma may lead to long-term hearing impairment, perforated eardrums, and long-term hearing loss if earwax obstructions go ignored.

Addressing impacted earwax

It’s crucial that you get in touch with us as soon as possible if you think your ears are blocked by earwax. Depending on the severity of the blockage, you might be advised to utilize over-the-counter wax softening drops or a bulb syringe for gentle irrigation to alleviate the condition.

If you’re concerned 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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