Why Does Earwax Accumulate?

Close up image of ear with earwax buildup.

It’s likely that earwax and its buildup haven’t been subjects of significant contemplation for you, except perhaps during ear hygiene sessions. Nonetheless, understanding what causes earwax, how it develops, and its purpose is crucial.

What triggers the buildup of earwax?

Earwax, scientifically known as cerumen, is a dense combination of debris, hair, skin particles, sweat, and ceruminous gland secretions. Earwax will show up as a waxy substance that will typically be yellow, orange, brown, or even grey.

In most situations, children tend to produce more earwax than adults. Children also normally have softer earwax that’s lighter in color than adults.

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?

Earwax serves several critical functions, such as:

  • Fending off potential infections that may develop within the ear canal.
  • Preventing itchiness and dryness by lubricating and protecting the lining of the ear canal.
  • Acting as a protective barricade against external irritants like dirt, dust, and other foreign particles before they penetrate deeper into the ear.

Blockages caused by earwax

Impacted earwax is a common problem, but it’s typically the only time you need to worry about it. Sometimes, earwax is unable to easily get to the opening of the ear due to narrow or abnormally shaped ear canals.

Wax can be unintentionally crammed up into the ear canal by utilizing improper cleaning methods like using cotton swabs.

Earwax blockages are frequently experienced by individuals who often use earplugs, earbuds, or hearing aids.

How is hearing affected by excessive earwax?

The presence of earwax blockages may yield mild discomfort and impact auditory health.
Ringing in the ears, or tinnitus, may also occur.

Neglected earwax blockages might intensify into middle ear infections, perforated eardrums, or lasting hearing loss as a result of acoustic trauma.

Dealing with impacted earwax

If you suspect an earwax blockage, consulting us quickly is essential. Depending on the severity of the blockage, you might be advised to utilize over-the-counter wax softening drops or a bulb syringe for delicate irrigation to alleviate the condition.

If you’re concerned about your earwax buildup, call us right away 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.