Why Does Earwax Build Up?

Close up image of ear with earwax buildup.

Chances are, earwax and its accumulation haven’t been subjects of significant contemplation for you, except maybe during ear hygiene sessions. Still, it’s crucial to have an understanding of its purpose and how it forms.

What triggers the accumulation of earwax?

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

In most circumstances, children tend to produce more earwax than adults. Furthermore, adult earwax is usually darker and denser compared to that of kids.

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

Why do we need earwax?

Here are a few crucial functions that earwax serves:

  • Preventing itchiness and dryness by lubricating and protecting the lining of the ear canal.
  • Before things like dust, dirt, or other outside debris get further up into the ear canal, earwax acts as a roadblock.
  • Helping counter ear infections.

Obstructions caused by earwax

Impacted earwax is a prevalent problem, but it’s typically the only time you need to worry about it. Impacted earwax can be the result of narrow or unusually shaped ear canals hindering the natural movement of earwax toward the ear’s opening.

Poor ear hygiene practices, such as using cotton swabs or bobby pins, can inadvertently push wax deeper into the ear canal.

Individuals wrestling with hearing loss who make use of earplugs or hearing aids are also predisposed to experiencing ear canal blockages.

How is hearing impacted by excessive earwax?

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

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

Addressing impacted earwax

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

Give us a call right away if you need some help with an earwax blockage.

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.