The ear canal produces a waxy oil named cerumen, more commonly known as earwax. You should exercise great caution if cleaning your ears at home.
Causes of Ear Wax Build-Up
Some people are predisposed to produce more earwax than the ear requires for protection. Nevertheless, it is worth noting excess wax does not automatically cause a blockage. In fact, a frequent cause of earwax blockage is attempted at-home removal.
You should exercise great caution if cleaning your ears at home. Cotton buds can inadvertently push the wax deeper, creating a blockage. It is also possible to cause damage to the lining of your ear canal, which can lead to an infection when the skin is broken. Also, if the cotton bud is inserted too far, the ear drum can be perforated.
You are also more likely to have wax build-up if you regularly use earphones, which may prevent earwax from exiting the ear canal.
Signs of earwax build-up
- Sudden or partial hearing loss (usually temporary)
- Tinnitus (ringing/buzzing in the ear)
- A feeling of fullness in the ear
- An earache or pain
- Feedback from your hearing aid
- Discomfort when inserting your hearing aids
What action should I take?
While a build-up of wax can be annoying for some, cerumen production is a natural defence mechanism for your ear. If you suspect you have an earwax build-up or blockage, it is best to consult an audiologist or your GP. Trained medical practitioners can accurately investigate the cause of the blockage and, if necessary, can use irrigation, suction or a curette to carefully remove the wax build-up.
Make an appointment with us to check your ears.