Earwax Buildup and Blockage: What You Need To Know

Earwax can sometimes be a pain to deal with, but did you know it is a necessary part of the ears function? The scientific name for earwax is ‘cerumen’ and its main role is actually to protect your ear. It is a form of defense that the ear has against a large buildup of dead cells, dust, and other small debris.

However, sometimes excess earwax buildup can cause problems such as hearing loss and discomfort, tinnitus, and even mild balance issues. If your ears are bothering you and you believe you have an earwax buildup problem, it’s important to know what to do and how to take care of it.

Here are a few answers to commonly asked question about earwax:

  • When is my earwax a problem? Earwax becomes an issue when you start to experience discomfort or hearing impairment because of it. Otherwise, some mild build up normal, but it should never impair your ability to hear.
  • How often should I clean my ears? You can clean the outer part of your ears with a clean and soft cloth on average two times a week. This is normally enough to keep your ears clean in appearance without causing any irritation from over cleaning. If your ears tend to produce above average amounts of earwax, you can clean the outer part of your ear as much as once daily. This daily cleaning won’t harm you, but if you have sensitive skin it can leave the skin irritated.
  • Can I clean my ears with anything other than a cloth? Special ear drops are available to help reduce earwax problems and you should follow the directions on the bottle. It is important to never put anything inside of your ear, such as a cotton swab, as they can easily puncture an eardrum or become stuck in the canal, causing much bigger issues than the earwax.
  • When is my earwax problem serious enough to see a doctor? If you’re experiencing hearing impairment, dizziness, brown, black, or red discharge from your ears, and or significant pain, it is time to seek a doctor for help. All of these signs indicate that your earwax buildup is not normal. Hearing impairments can be caused by a blockage of earwax, dizziness may be caused by vertigo from wax buildup, and a dark earwax may imply that there is blood in your earwax. If any of these apply to you, do not wait to seek the help of a medical professional.

Keeping your ears clean is especially important if you are a hearing aid user. Remember to clean both the outside of your ears and your hearing aid regularly to prevent these earwax problems. For any other questions on general ear care or hearing aid care, contact us at Hearing Solutions, Inc to schedule an appointment with one of our certified hearing care professionals.

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