Ear wax is one of those bodily substances that everyone has, but no one likes to talk about. It’s natural to have it, however, for a few people, the ear over-produces wax and we’re left with an unwanted buildup in our ear canal.
Just like mucus or saliva, there’s a reason why our body creates ear wax. Let’s take a look at why that is, how wax benefits us and what we can do about excess ear wax.
Despite its ghastly, dreaded appearance, there is an actual benefit to ear wax. It’s produced by glands in our outer ear canal, and is called cerumen, composed of up to 50 per cent fat.
We need a small amount of ear wax in our ears for moisturisation and also to protect our sensitive ears against dirt and dust. This reduces the chances of infection, and if we have too little, our ears can get dry and itchy.
Typically, we produce just enough ear wax to serve its purpose. Old wax will dry up and get pushed out of the ear canal, where it’ll fall out along with any debris the piece may have trapped. It sounds disgusting, but it’s definitely better than having dust clog up your ear.
When wax won’t wane
Some people naturally produce an excessive amount of wax. This can create a buildup in the ear canal, which may cause pain, and even cause an infection or tinnitus. Other reasons could be the use of hearing aids, or irregularly shaped ear canals, which prevent ear wax from falling out naturally.
In this case, it’s wise to get your ears checked out by a doctor as soon as possible to prevent any of these symptoms. They’ll be able to assess the situation and suggest the best course of action to take, such as irrigation.
That being said, you should never attempt to irrigate your ears without the right tools, especially with irrigation products meant for your mouth or teeth! Your eardrum is extremely delicate, and can be damaged with improper technique. Your doctor can inform you of the best qualified specialist for this procedure.
You may see ear candles for sale at your local pharmacy, however, don’t be so eager to reach for them. Many medical professionals claim these to be dangerous because having an open flame near your head can be a hazard – both to your ears and also your hair!
How to remove excess ear wax at home
It’s important to establish good hygiene habits when dealing with the delicate issue of your ear canal. Many people use cotton buds, hair pins or other sorts of items to remove ear wax, but while you may get instant relief, these appendages may push fragments of ear wax further in.