What Is Earwax?

Earwax also known as (Cerumen) is a substance produced by the wax glands in our ears. Earwax contains a combination of oil and sweat and has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It helps to repel water, helps keep the skin from getting dry and itchy and traps dust and germs, preventing them from reaching the eardrum.

The skin on our body is constantly regenerating and in the ear canal grows in an outward spiral pattern. The earwax helps escort the dead skin cells out of the ear and the cells stick to the wax. The natural jaw movements of talking and chewing keeps this process moving, the wax then falls out or washes away in the shower.

Ear wax is a completely normal product of the ear however it can build up and form into a plug.

What causes wax to build up in our ears?

  • Some people naturally produce a lot of earwax
  • In an older adults wax can become drier and is more prone to build up
  • A narrow or bendy ear canal or excessive hair in the ear canals
  • Abnormal growth of bone within the ear canal (Exostosis), this occurs slowly over time
  • Inserting objects in the ears, such as cotton buds
  • Wearing Hearing Aids or extended use of ear plugs
  • The body's natural wax extraction system may simply not work effectively.

Symptoms of earwax build up

  • Sudden , partial or intermittent hearing loss
  • Discomfort, pain or earache
  • A feeling of fullness in the ear, they feel blocked
  • Tinnitus, Ringing, buzzing, sound of cicadas, frequency noises
  • Dizziness, Vertigo (feeling like the room is spinning, sometimes accompanied by nausea)

Call your Doctor if you have Severe Symptoms

Having the signs and symptoms doesn't always mean you have wax buildup, its possible you have another medical condition involving your ears that my need attention. Contact your doctor if you experience severe pain in your ear that doesn't subside, a fever or drainage from your ears.