What Causes Earwax Buildup?

Close up image of ear with earwax buildup.

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

So why does earwax build-up?

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

While the production amount of earwax varies from person to person, adults typically produce less earwax than children. Furthermore, adult earwax is usually darker and harder compared to that of kids.

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

Why is earwax crucial?

Here are a few important functions that earwax serves:

  • Helping counter ear infections.
  • Safeguarding and moisturizing the skin lining the ear canal, thus preventing dryness and itchiness.
  • Acting as a protective barrier against outside irritants like dirt, dust, and other foreign particles before they penetrate deeper into the ear.

Earwax blockages

Impacted earwax is a prevalent 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.

Improper ear hygiene methods, such as using cotton swabs or bobby pins, can unintentionally force wax deeper into the ear canal.

Individuals wrestling with hearing loss who utilize earplugs or hearing aids are also predisposed to experiencing ear canal obstructions.

How is hearing impacted by too much earwax?

Auditory health may be hindered and you may feel mild discomfort.
Also, substantial buildup of earwax can trigger tinnitus, a feeling of ringing in the ears.

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

How do you deal with impacted wax?

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

Give us a call right away if you need some assistance 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.