Understanding Ear Wax Buildup and Treatment Options
Did you know that ear wax, or cerumen, is actually beneficial? It’s true! It helps to keep the ear canal lubricated, protects skin from dirt and bacteria, and helps keep your ears free of infection. However, too much wax buildup can often lead to hearing issues. Let’s explore what causes ear wax buildup and how it can be treated.
What Causes Ear Wax Buildup?
Ear wax is naturally produced by glands lining the inner surface of the ear canal. This wax helps to protect the skin in your ear canal from dust particles and bacteria. In most cases, this wax is removed naturally as it moves toward the outer part of your ear canal. However, sometimes natural production can cause too much wax to build up in the ears which can lead to hearing difficulties, hearing aid malfunction, feedback or squealing when hearing aids are in the canals or even complete/partial blockage of the ear canal.
In addition to natural production, improper use of cotton swabs or other items in the ears such as bobby pins or paper clips can also cause a buildup of wax. These items push wax further into your ear canal where it gets impacted and may be difficult for you to remove on your own.
Signs and Symptoms of Ear Wax Buildup
The most common signs and symptoms of a blocked or impacted ear are difficulty hearing sounds clearly or partial hearing loss due to an obstruction in your eardrum caused by built-up earwax. Other symptoms include itching/discomfort in the affected area, as well as ringing/buzzing noises due to tinnitus (or “ringing in the ears”).
Treatment for Ear Wax Buildup
There are several self-care strategies that you can use at home if you think you have too much wax buildup in your ears. These include using mineral oil (or other over-the-counter solutions) to soften the wax so it can be more easily removed with a bulb syringe; or using over-the-counter or a commercial product designed specifically for softening hardened/impacted cerumen (earwax).
If these methods do not work for you, then professional removal services may be necessary such as irrigation (water being flushed through) or suctioning (using specialized tools). Both procedures should only be performed by experienced healthcare providers such as audiologists, hearing instrument specialists, ENTs or primary care physicians who specialize in treating issues related to the ears and hearing.
Seeking Help from a Healthcare Provider for Ear Wax Buildup
Knowing all about why we need our earwax, what causes too much buildup, and how to treat it is important information—especially if you are experiencing any hearing problems due to excess accumulation inside your ears. If these self-care strategies don’t work for you then seeking help from a healthcare provider is always recommended so they can safely remove any impacted cerumen without damaging your eardrum or inner ear structures further. Don’t wait any longer - get help today!
Earigator - Cerumen Management System Available at Lifetime Hearing Clinic
The Earigator is the world’s most advanced ear irrigator system. Complete water temperature and pressure controls allow for safe and comfortable ear wax (cerumen) removal without discomfort or dizziness in as little as 3-5 minutes.