What Causes Earwax Accumulation?

Close up image of ear with earwax buildup.

You most likely don’t give a lot of thought to earwax buildup unless you’re in the process of clearing it out. Still, it’s crucial to have an understanding of its purpose and how it develops.

What triggers the buildup of earwax?

Earwax, also technically called cerumen, is made up of a mix of sweat, skin particles, hair, debris, and ceruminous gland secretions. This earwax presents with a waxy consistency and can exhibit shades of orange, yellow, gray, or brown.

In most situations, children tend to generate more earwax than adults. Moreover, adult earwax is usually darker and denser compared to that of kids.

Earwax goes by the outer ear canal leisurely, eventually reaching the ear opening, where it either self-expels or gets washed out when you bathe.

Why do we need earwax?

Here are a few important functions that earwax serves:

  • Fending off possible infections that may occur within the ear canal.
  • Protecting and lubricating the skin lining the ear canal, thereby preventing dryness and itchiness.
  • Before things like dust, dirt, or other external debris get further up into the ear canal, earwax acts as a roadblock.

Obstructions caused by earwax

Typically, there’s no critical need to remove earwax from your ears unless it becomes impacted, a common issue associated with earwax. Sometimes, earwax is unable to easily get to the opening of the ear as a result of narrow or abnormally shaped ear canals.

Improper ear hygiene practices, like using cotton swabs or bobby pins, can inadvertently force wax deeper into the ear canal.

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

How is hearing affected by excessive earwax?

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

Neglected earwax blockages might intensify into middle ear infections, perforated eardrums, or enduring hearing loss due to acoustic trauma.

How do you tackle impacted wax?

If you think you have an earwax blockage, consulting us quickly is essential. You might be advised to utilize over-the-counter products like a bulb syringe or earwax softening drops to clear the wax out, depending on the extent of the blockage.

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

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.