The body has its own protective mechanisms, and one of these is the ear wax. The skin in the ear produces an oily, waxy substance known as cerumen. This is produced to help protect the ear from the dust and the microorganisms that it is constantly subjected to. What happens is this earwax is naturally removed from the ear as it gets washed away through the ear canal that opens to the outside. However, in some cases, where there is excessive production of wax, it can harden and cause a blockage. Read on to know more about how this ear wax builds up, how it may cause blockage, and how to get rid of it.
Buildup: As noted, the ear wax is a natural protective mechanism to keep dust and bacteria from entering the ear canal which is a very critical organ. The middle ear is responsible for maintaining overall body balance. However, in some people, more wax is produced than what gets removed. Also, due to the recurrent use of earphones and earbuds, the wax can get pushed deeper. The earphones also could block the wax from getting out of the ear canal.
Excessive ear wax can lead to the following:
It is important to know that trying to remove ear wax at home should be avoided, as they can push the wax internally and cause more severe problems. These above symptoms could be indicative of various other problems in the ear and so should be immediately attended to by a medical doctor. Those who use hearing aids may also face the problem of excessive wax buildup.
Removal: As mentioned above, removal should not be done at home. This is true especially for young children and the elderly.
As the next step, clinical removal may be required. Those who are prone to excessive wax buildup may go for an annual or biannual wax removal. This could include irrigation and use of suction or curette to remove the wax. Ear wax, though not very pleasant, has a role to play in the ear’s health and small amounts of it are beneficial.
Ear wax which is also known as cerumen is produced by the human body for the protection of the ears. Ear wax possesses both antibacterial and lubricating characteristics. Mostly, the existing ear wax is passed via the ear canal by motions such as chewing and various jaw movements. The skin from the canal widens from within. At this time, it extends from outside the ear and peels off. The ear wax is made by the outer lining of the ears.
Ear wax impaction refers to a situation where there is tremendous build-up within the canal of the ears. Such enormous build-up is indicative that something is seriously wrong. Ears are naturally designed in a way that they self-clean. Build-up of ear wax and obstruction often takes place when people make use of cotton swabs and/or bobby pins to clean out the ears. But using earbuds or cotton swabs are contrary to helpful; they push the ear wax further deep inside the ears, sometimes leading to an injury in the process.
When ear wax impaction is left untreated, it may lead to infections. Signs of the severity of the impaction include irritation of the ear and loss of hearing. If there is a significant accumulation of ear wax in the ear then it might make looking inside the ear troublesome, thereby, a number of issues can go undiagnosed. Of the main signs of ear wax impaction, the four most foreboding signs include:
Other symptoms of earwax impaction include drainage from the canal of the ear, pain in the ear and dizziness.
Upon experiencing the severe signs of earwax impaction or cerumen build-up, the supervising doctor can confirm that you may or may not have a blockage in the ear by looking inside the ear with an ear-scope.
Getting rid of the extra earwax is very easy. Use only cotton swabs to clean out the external region of the ears. In order to soften the consistency of the earwax you can buy certain over-the-counter drops or you can also use substances that are composed of baby oil, and glycerine.
Ear irrigation is another method which you can adopt in order to eliminate excess earwax. If the patient considering ear irrigation has suffered an injury in the ear or had a medical procedure such as a surgery performed on the ear then he or she should immediately opt out of the idea of ear irrigation. If ear irrigation is performed on an eardrum that has become ruptured then it could lead to infection or loss of hearing. Persons having a problem of impacted ear wax should get it cleaned by an ENT specialist every 6 months.