Health

Understanding the Earwax

Ear wax is the yellowish wax or oil, called as cerumen that is produced by the sebaceous gland in the ear canal. The wax protects the ear from dust, foreign particles, and microorganisms that get into the ear through the opening. Another major function of the ear wax is to protect ear canal skin from irritation due to water. 

Benefits of the ear wax

Earwax contains 60 per cent keratin, 12-20 per cent saturated and unsaturated long-chain fatty acids, and alcohols, and6-9 per cent. Earwax is slightly acidic and has the antibacterial property. Ear wax helps to keep the ear canal dry, waterlogged and avoids infection of the ear. 

Ear wax helps to lubricate, clean and protect the lining of the ear canal. It is done by repelling water, trapping dirt and making sure the insects and other micro-organisms from not getting through the ear canal and harming the eardrum.

Cause building up of ear wax

When the ear canal produces excess wax, it gets out of the canal into the ear opening naturally and is then washed away. Sometimes it may get hard and block the ear. When you try cleaning your ears, you might accidentally push the wax deeper and cause the ear blockage. Building up of wax is said to be the common reason for the temporary hearing loss in many of us. Hence you should be cautious when removing the ear wax build-up at home. If you find that the problem persists, it is best to get a check-up done by the doctor. Ear Wax treatment is generally quick and painless and the hearing can be completely restored. 

In some of the people, it is found that earwax is prone to be produced profusely. Excess wax production usually leads to blockage, instead, it is caused due to the method used at home to remove it. People use the cotton swabs, bobby pins and other objects inside the ear canal for the removal of the wax. Instead of removing the wax, it could cause the pushing of the wax deeper into the ear and creating a blockage.

A person using earphone more frequently is found to be more likely to have the ear wax build-up. The earphones prevent earwax from coming out of the ear canals and cause the blockages.

Earwax problems

The excess earwax build-up is caused by the profuse production that gets hardened and forms a plug inside the ear. It leads to pain and ear blockage. The symptoms of earwax blockage are – 

  • a cough, due to pressure from the blockage stimulating a nerve in the ear
  • a feeling of fullness in the ear
  • an earache
  • an ear infection
  • Ear vertigo or a sense of being unbalanced that can lead to dizziness and nausea
  • itchiness
  • tinnitus – which is a ringing in the ear

People who are more likely to collect excess earwax are – 

  • individuals with narrow or not completely formed ear canals 
  • individuals with very hairy ear canals
  • individuals with benign bony growths (osteomata), in the outer part of the ear canal
  • Eczema – the skin conditions 
  • In older people. The earwax tends to become drier and become harder as we grow old
  • One with recurring ear infections that impact earwax
  • individuals with Sjogren syndrome, lupus

Getting medical help to efficiently and professionally remove the excess ear wax is the best solution. Check with the doctor to find out more on how to deal with the excess ear wax build-up or you suspect that you have the hearing issue or blockage.

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