What Causes Earwax Accumulation?

Close up image of ear with earwax buildup.

Chances are, earwax and its buildup haven’t been subjects of significant contemplation for you, except maybe during ear hygiene routines. Still, it’s essential to have an understanding of its purpose and how it develops.

What initiates the accumulation of earwax?

Earwax, scientifically known as cerumen, is a dense 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, kids tend to produce more earwax than adults. Moreover, adult earwax tends to be darker and harder compared to that of kids.

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

Why do we need earwax?

Here are some essential functions that earwax serves:

  • Fending off possible infections that may arise within the ear canal.
  • Protecting and lubricating the skin lining the ear canal, thus preventing dryness and itchiness.
  • Acting as a protective barrier against external irritants including dirt, dust, and other foreign particles before they infiltrate deeper into the ear.

Earwax blockages

Usually, there’s no critical need to clean out 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 due to narrow or unusually shaped ear canals.

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

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

How too much earwax can affect hearing

Auditory health may be impeded and you may feel minor discomfort.
In addition, significant buildup of earwax can induce tinnitus, a sensation of ringing in the ears.

Acoustic trauma may result in long-term hearing impairment, perforated eardrums, and long-term hearing loss if earwax obstructions go neglected.

Dealing with impacted earwax

It’s essential that you get in touch with us as soon as possible if you think your ears may be blocked by earwax. You may be advised to utilize over-the-counter products such as a bulb syringe or earwax softening drops to clear the wax out, depending on the severity of the blockage.

Call us right away if you need some help with an earwax obstruction.

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.