Ear Wax – Why Do We Have It?

Ear Wax – Why Do We Have It And How Do You Remove It?

Ear wax is naturally produced by your body to help clean, protect, and lubricate your ears.  In normal circumstances, it finds its way out of the canal and into the ear opening naturally and then is washed away. Sometimes it builds up excessively, and if it does, you may want to turn to methods of removal.

Ear wax, also called cerumen, is a sticky, shiny substance produced by the wax glands located in the outer part of your ear canal (the canal that separates the fleshy outer ear from the inner ear). It is 20 to 50 percent fat, and it coats the ear canal to moisturize it, fight off infection, and help keep dust, dirt, and other debris from getting deep inside your ear. Most people make enough, but if you have too little ear wax, your ears can become dry, itchy, and prone to infection.

Some people produce more ear wax than others. In some cases, it can accumulate in the ear canal and cause symptoms including:

  • Ear pain
  • A feeling of fullness in the ear
  • A plugged sensation in the ear
  • Hearing loss
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Ear infection
  • Itching
  • Ear odor
  • Discharge from the ear
  • Coughing

The safest way of removing ear wax.

Many people remove wax as part of their personal hygiene routine. Some people probe their ear canals with cotton swabs, hair pins, or other objects in an attempt to clean their ears. If done incorrectly, it can push it deeper into your ear canal, block your ear drum, cause irritation of the ear canal, or cause your eardrum to rupture.

To safely clean your ears, use a cloth to wipe and wash the fleshy external part of your ear, but avoid putting anything into your ear canal. In some cases, putting a few drops of mineral or baby oil, glycerin, hydrogen peroxide, or over-the-counter ear cleaning drops into your ear can help to soften and remove it. It’s best to avoid using cotton swabs or other probing objects for at-home ear cleaning. Also, some people go to their doctor to have wax removed from their ears every 6 to 12 months.

If you feel that you have excessive wax in your ears that might be affecting your hearing, call Schmidt’s Optical and Hearing™  today at 772-286-4327 and schedule your FREE comprehensive hearing screening with our Board Certified Hearing Aid Specialist.


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