What Causes Excessive Earwax?

Earwax Might Be a Bigger Health Issue Than You Think

Our ears play a vital role in the human body, so it’s important to keep them as healthy as possible. Your ear canal naturally produces a waxy oil called cerumen. Cerumen is more commonly known as earwax. Earwax exists to protect your ears against bacteria and foreign particles getting into the canal and causing problems. These particles include dirt, unwanted microorganisms and excessive amounts of water. Normally, the earwax produced by the body is naturally eliminated out of the canal and washed away on its own. However, excess amounts of earwax in the ear canal can cause problems. If left untouched, excessive earwax could harden and end up blocking the ear canal completely, causing temporary hearing loss and other damage.

All bodies make earwax, but the amount that each person makes is genetically determined, like your height or hair color. Some people are prone to having an excessive amount of earwax, while other people may be causing earwax blockage by using common at-home removal tools like cotton swabs. These tools could end up pushing wax deeper into the ear canal, creating a blockage. Excessive earwax building can also occur by frequently using earphones, which can accidentally prevent earwax from naturally being flushed out of the ear canals.

Signs of earwax buildup include:

  1. Sudden or partial temporary hearing loss

  2. Tinnitus is a ringing or buzzing in the ear

  3. Dizziness

  4. Earache

Experts say earwax buildup can cause problems with balance, hearing, and even mood in older adults.

Everyone knows our ears are important for hearing, but sometimes we forget that our ears play an extremely important role in keeping us balanced. Our inner ear sends signals to our brain that help keep track of our body’s movements. Dizziness or imbalance can occur when there is a blockage in our ear canals.

You should never attempt to dig out earwax from deep in the canal by yourself, as it could cause major damage to your ear and lead to infection or hearing loss. If there is excess earwax on the outer portion of your ears, you will likely be able to get rid of that using a cotton swab. Make sure you are being very careful when trying to clean out excess earwax at home, and if you have run into a problem or suddenly are unable to hear, are dizzy or can’t keep your balance, visit your doctor. Treatment is generally quick and painless, and hearing can be fully restored.

Close-up Of Doctor Examining Patient’s Ear With Otoscope


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