Earwax build-up is a common problem facing most people of all ages. Almost 12 million people see health workers every year as a result of ear wax build-up.
How can you tell if your earwax build-up is causing you problems? In this article, we shall look at the causes, symptoms of earwax build-up, and the dangers it poses on our bodies.
What is Ear wax?
Ear wax is also termed as cerumen, is produced from the sebaceous glands in the ear. Its’ role is to clean, lubricate, and protect the lining of the ear canal. Like eyelashes to the eye and nose hair to the nose, ear wax serves as a protective device.
The ear wax’s primary function is to protect your ear canal from foreign materials such as bacteria, fungi, or insects entering your ear and harm the eardrum. Earwax comprises different shed layers of skin. Without earwax, our ears would be more open to infections or dry up.
What is Ear wax Build-up?
First, it is important to know that ears don’t need cleaning as they clean up themselves. However, some factors can cause interruption of the normal process. For instance, some people produce too much ear wax and cause blockage in the ear canal.
Earwax build-up can, therefore, can be caused by the following factors:
- Presence of narrow or hairy ear canals
- Type of skin disease (eczema)
- Having a bony blockage
- Producing too much ear wax
Ear wax tends to dry with age. Being elderly can contribute to the build-up of earwax. People who repeatedly insert objects in their ears intending to clean them put themselves at risk of ear blockage.
The use of earphones, earplugs, or hearing aids aggravates the problem.
What are the symptoms of Earwax Build-up?
The most common symptoms of impacted earwax include:
- Hearing loss
- Vertigo (feeling as if the world around you is spinning)
- Ringing in the ears (Tinnitus)
- Itching in the ear
- Foul smell coming from the ear.
Can Ear wax Build-up Be Prevented?
Health care practitioners warn against the use of cotton swabs as they push the earwax back down your ear canal. It may be impossible to prevent impacted earwax, especially if you have certain health conditions that may lead to possible earwax build-up.
In case you don’t have any health conditions; and experience excessive ear that causes pain or discomfort, you may need to see a doctor. He will check your ear using a medical instrument to determine whether your ear has been impacted.
If a blockage is present, your doctor will recommend safe and efficient earwax removal to prevent further damage.
Who Is At Risk of Earwax Build-up?
In older people, earwax is very common as air wax tends to become harder and less mobile as the years go by. People with underlying health conditions such as eczema or lupusmay also be at a greater risk of impacted ears.
Call your health care provider if you experience severe symptoms of earwax build-up.