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Earwax Buildup & Blockage - How To Get Rid Of It?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Brajpal Singh Tyagi 87% (26 ratings)
MBBS, MS - ENT
ENT Specialist, Ghaziabad  •  31 years experience
Earwax Buildup & Blockage - How To Get Rid Of It?

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 an excessive production of wax, it can harden and cause 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 recurrent use of earphones and ear buds, 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 elderly.

  • Wax softening: There are specific drops which can be used to soften ear wax. Some other products at home which can be used include baby oil, glycerine, mineral oil, or hydrogen peroxide.
  • Over-the-counter: Ear irrigation kits are available with clear instructions and can be used safely.

As the next step, clinical removal may be required. Those who are prone for 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 is beneficial.

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