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Here Is What You Need to Know About Earwax

Written by
Dr. Kumar Ashutosh
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Sep 18, 2017 and last reviewed on Sep 07, 2018   -  2 min read

Abstract

Abstract

Wax is a natural secretion of the ceruminous and sebaceous glands found in the ear canal. It protects the eardrum from infections, trauma, and water. Though wax is not a problem, excess wax is. Professional help must always be taken for wax cleaning.

Here Is What You Need to Know About Earwax
Contents

Earwax is a natural secretion and has antibacterial and lubricant properties. It also protects the eardrum from infections, trauma, and water. Some people produce soft wax, while others produce hard wax. This is genetically determined.

Normally, earwax occurs as fine flakes which fall off during jaw movements while chewing. But, it may accumulate in the ear due to various reasons.

What Causes Excessive Earwax to Form?

Excessive earwax can build up in the canal either because of the person's tendency to produce hard wax or due to pushing of the wax deeper into the canal by the use of earbuds and other objects.

It can cause pain, hearing problems, itching, ringing sensations in the ear, heaviness, ear fullness and ear discharge. Treatment options include the use of wax softening agents, instrumentation and syringing. Self-cleaning of the wax buildup should always be avoided as it may cause trauma to the eardrum. Always seek help from a professional ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctor for wax cleaning.

Symptoms of Excess Earwax Buildup

  1. Pain: wax is the most common cause of earache.
  2. Hearing problem: wax buildup can cause hearing problems due to mechanical obstruction. Deafness may also be precipitated when water enters the ear during a bath as it can swell the wax.
  3. Itching: earwax impaction can cause ear irritation and itchiness.
  4. Ringing sensation in the ear: also known as tinnitus, the ringing can be intermittent or continuous.
  5. Heaviness and ear fullness: trying to clean the ears often pushes the earwax further into the canal causing a blockage.
  6. Ear discharge: discharge and odor follow as a result of an ear infection caused by improper methods of wax removal.

Treatment for Earwax Impaction

Wax softening agents: Several wax-softening agents like oils, hydrogen peroxide solution and wax drops containing paradichlorobenzene, benzocaine, and turpentine oil are available which soften the wax.

Instrumentation: Your healthcare professional can clean the blocked ears using special and sterilized instruments. Do not try cleaning them by yourselves. It can cause an injury to your eardrums.

Syringing: In this procedure, your health care provider will flush your ear canal with warm saline or water. This will remove the wax from your ears.

Earcare Tips

  1. Do not put earbuds or bobby pins into your ears. This will push the earwax deeper and can even traumatize your eardrum.
  2. Do not pour hot oil into the ear canal as it can damage your eardrum.
  3. Do not use cold water to clean your ears as it can cause vertigo.
  4. Using earphones for prolonged periods can push the wax deeper into the ear canal making it difficult to remove.

For more information consult an ENT otolaryngologist online --> https://icliniq.com./ask-a-doctor-online/ENT-Otolaryngologist

 

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Last reviewed at:
07 Sep 2018  -  2 min read

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