The Facts About Excessive Earwax

Excessive Earwax

Excessive earwax accumulation can be both a source of embarrassment and a serious health concern. However, there are effective ways of managing this condition. Despite its unsavory reputation, earwax plays a crucial role in maintaining ear health, and its presence is a welcome fact. Nevertheless, some individuals can experience a buildup of earwax that may require removal either through self-application or by a medical professional. Maintaining healthy ears and wax is essential to preventing earwax buildup. Below are some tips that will help you achieve this goal.

Facts About Excessive Earwax

Cerumen, a natural secretion commonly known as earwax, plays a significant role in the self-cleaning mechanism of the human ear. This oily substance effectively captures and restricts the entry of dirt, germs, and debris, preventing them from penetrating deep into the ear canal. Additionally, cerumen serves as a protective shield that shields the sensitive skin of the ear canal against irritation caused by the presence of water.

Do I need to clean my ears?

Did you know cleaning wax from the ear canal is unnecessary? Earwax is excreted naturally and does not require removal. The natural movements of the jaw, such as chewing, assist in moving the earwax to the outer part of the ear, where it often flakes off or is rinsed away during a shower. This is typically the only ear cleaning necessary. Disturbing the earwax process can cause more problems than it solves. Excessive earwax can cause discomforting symptoms such as pain, hearing loss, and even a reflex cough. In addition to these, ringing in the ear, itching, and dizziness can also occur.

We do not recommend using cotton swabs or ear candles to remove earwax. Using cotton swabs can lead to the earwax being pushed deeper into the ear canal, causing it to become difficult to remove. Additionally, using cotton swabs can cause the delicate skin around the ear canal to dry out and become irritated. Ear candles, on the other hand, are ineffective in removing earwax and can be harmful. The use of ear candles can result in damage to the ear canal or eardrum. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid using cotton swabs and ear candles for earwax removal and consult a healthcare professional if experiencing earwax buildup or discomfort.

Treating Earwax Impaction

Earwax impaction is a typical result of using cotton swabs, earplugs, or earbuds and is more likely to occur as individuals age. It should be noted that earwax impaction may sometimes happen spontaneously without a specific cause. If you experience an earwax impaction, it is recommended that you pursue medical aid from a doctor who can safely remove the impaction or provide guidance for safe removal at home.

Impacted cerumen can be treated through various methods, each effective in its own way:

Irrigating the ears

One of the most common methods is irrigation, which involves flushing out the wax using lukewarm water. A medical professional can perform this method in their office or at home.

Over-the-counter drops

Use earwax removal kits to flush out the wax after softening it. Alternatively, a cotton ball dipped in mineral oil can be applied to the external canal to soften the wax. This helps break up the earwax, allowing it to fall out naturally. It is essential to follow the instructions of a medical professional on what to use, how much to use, and how often to use it.

Specialized medical tools

In cases where the impacted cerumen is particularly persistent, a trained doctor may use specialized tools to remove it. It is important to note that this should not be attempted at home, and the services of a medical professional are highly recommended. If one experiences recurring earwax buildup or any other concerning symptoms, such as fever, drainage, or bleeding from the ears, it is advised to consult a physician. If one wears hearing aids, we recommend having the ears checked more frequently, as hearing aids may impede the regular discharge of earwax.

If hearing loss is due to earwax buildup, it is promising to note that it is typically temporary. Once the earwax is extracted, hearing should return to normal.

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