Why Does Earwax Accumulate?

Close up image of ear with earwax buildup.

You probably don’t give a lot of thought to earwax accumulation unless you’re in the process of clearing it out. 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 situations, children tend to produce more earwax than adults. Moreover, adult earwax is usually darker and denser compared to that of kids.

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

Why is earwax essential?

Here are some essential functions that earwax serves:

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

Earwax obstructions

Typically, there’s no imperative need to remove earwax from your ears unless it becomes impacted, a common problem associated with earwax. Impacted earwax can stem from narrow or unusually shaped ear canals impeding the normal movement of earwax toward the ear’s opening.

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

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

How excessive earwax can affect hearing

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

Neglected earwax obstructions might intensify into middle ear infections, perforated eardrums, or lasting hearing impairment due to acoustic trauma.

How do you tackle impacted wax?

If you think you have an earwax blockage, consulting us quickly is imperative. Depending on the extent of the obstruction, you might be advised to make use of over-the-counter wax softening drops or a bulb syringe for delicate irrigation to alleviate the condition.

Call us right away if you need some assistance 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.