Cerumen, also commonly known as earwax, is a naturally produced substance that is used to protect and lubricate the ears. While earwax buildup is certainly a problem for a lot of individuals, the ear would be dry, itchy, and prone to infection if earwax wasn’t present. While cerumen is essential for the ear canal, too much of this waxy substance can lead to a number of problems. Some of the most common issues include earache, partial hearing loss, tinnitus, itching, and coughing.
Ear wax removal helps in removing excessive ear wax build-up that can get infected.
What is the meaning of impacted earwax?
Impacted earwax refers to excess build-up of earwax in the ear canal. It is a very common condition that can be caused by a number of health conditions such as:
- Ear injuries
- A narrow ear canal
- Autoimmune disease
- Skin disease
- Infectious diseases
- Bony blockage (osteoma or exostoses)
Impacted earwax can also be caused by objects placed in the ear. This is the main cause of earwax buildup in children and young people who have no other problems.
What are some of the complications of impacted earwax?
Impacted earwax on its own doesn’t cause any problems. But some treatments for the condition cause the following complications such as swimmer’s ear (otitis external), earache short-term (temporary), hearing loss, dizziness, retention of water in the canal, eardrum hole (perforation), ringing in the ears, and bleeding from the ear. Impacted earwax can also lead to a number of other related health issues as well.
How to prevent earwax buildup in the ear?
While many individuals discover earwax buildup after it is already in an advanced stage, there are some tips one can follow to prevent excess buildup altogether.
- Overcleaning ears
Overcleaning the ears is also a reason for earwax buildup. This can lead to irritation in the ear canal, ear inflection, and other complications.
- Foreign objects
Many individuals commit the mistake of using objects such as cotton swabs, hair pins, toothpicks, and other small items to clean the ear. However, they often mistakenly damage the eardrum, and ear canal or even dislocate the hearing bones.
- Ear candles
Using ear candles can damage the eardrum and ear canal. Ear candles are normally not an effective way to remove excess ear wax.
Certain health conditions make an individual more prone to earwax buildup than others, such as eczema. The best way to prevent earwax buildup is to maintain a regular ear cleaning schedule every 6 months or so.
When experiencing any type of ear pain, ear fullness, or hearing loss, it is always a good idea to consult a hearing clinic, rather than going for home remedies. Professionals at the hearing clinic can safely perform earwax removal or can advise about how to safely treat earwax buildup at home.
How is impacted earwax buildup treated?
Normally earwax goes away on its own with time. However, removing excess earwax can be complicated. Some of the treatment options for earwax buildup include.
- Manual removal, involving special tools
- Irrigation of the ear canal with water
- Medicines are applied to the ear canal.
Patients should not that no reputed and experienced hearing clinic will prescribe ear candling or ear vacuum.
Earwax, which is a bodily emanation is actually very useful to the body, but in small amounts. It acts as a natural cleanser, as it moves inside the ear, gathering hair, skin cells, and dirt along the way. However, an ear canal plugged up with earwax can cause earaches and infections. This is why one should contact a hearing clinic as soon as one feels that earwax is impeding their hearing.