Audio Life Hearing Center- Knoxville, TN

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.

So why does earwax accumulate?

Earwax, technically identified 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, children tend to produce more earwax than adults. Moreover, adult earwax tends to be darker and harder compared to that of kids.

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

Why is earwax crucial?

Here are some crucial functions that earwax serves:

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

Earwax obstructions

Impacted earwax is a common issue, but it’s usually the only time you need to be concerned about it. Impacted earwax can be the result of narrow or unusually shaped ear canals hindering the normal movement of earwax toward the ear’s opening.

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

Earwax obstructions are often experienced by people who frequently use earplugs, earbuds, or hearing aids.

How too much earwax can impact hearing

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

Neglected earwax obstructions may intensify into middle ear infections, perforated eardrums, or enduring hearing loss as a result of acoustic trauma.

How do you deal with impacted wax?

Should you suspect an earwax blockage, consulting us immediately is imperative. Depending on the extent of the blockage, you may be advised to utilize over-the-counter wax softening drops or a bulb syringe for gentle irrigation to alleviate the condition.

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

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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.
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