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Why Do Ears Produce So Much Wax?


The human ear is a remarkable and intricate organ responsible for one of our most vital senses: hearing. Its internal workings are not only fascinating but also play a crucial role in maintaining ear health. A common issue that many people encounter, and often wonder about, is the production of earwax, or cerumen. 

The Role of Earwax

Before we delve into the reasons behind excessive earwax production, it’s essential to understand the role of earwax. Earwax is a waxy substance produced by the ceruminous glands located in the ear canal. It serves several vital functions:

Lubrication: Earwax helps keep the skin of the ear canal moist, preventing it from becoming dry and itchy.

Protection: One of the primary functions of earwax is to protect the delicate ear canal from foreign particles, such as dust, debris, and insects, which could otherwise enter the ear and potentially cause damage or infection.

Cleansing: Earwax is a self-cleaning mechanism. It slowly migrates from the deep ear canal to the ear’s entrance, carrying trapped particles and dead skin cells with it.

Reasons for Excessive Earwax Production

While earwax is undoubtedly beneficial, some individuals experience more earwax production than others. This excess production can lead to a build-up of earwax, potentially causing discomfort and affecting hearing. 

Here are some of the reasons why some people produce an excessive amount of earwax:

Genetic Predisposition: Genetics play a significant role in determining the characteristics of an individual’s earwax, including its texture and moisture content. Some people inherit genes that make their ceruminous glands produce more wax.

Age: Earwax production tends to decrease with age. As people get older, the earwax may become drier and more likely to accumulate, leading to blockages and discomfort.

Earwax Consistency: The consistency of earwax can vary from person to person. Some people have dry, flaky earwax, while others produce wet, sticky wax that is more prone to build up.

Ear Cleaning Habits: In some cases, excessive ear cleaning can paradoxically lead to more earwax production. When we clean our ears aggressively with cotton swabs or other objects, it can stimulate the ceruminous glands to produce more wax as a protective response.

Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, or chronic ear infections, can lead to increased earwax production. These conditions can disrupt the normal earwax self-cleaning process.

Dealing with Excessive Earwax

When excessive earwax production becomes problematic, it may require intervention to prevent earwax impaction, which can lead to hearing loss, discomfort, or even infection. Here are some strategies for managing excessive earwax:

Avoid Inserting Objects into the Ear: It’s essential to resist the temptation to insert cotton swabs, bobby pins, or other objects into the ear canal. This can push earwax deeper and potentially damage the delicate structures of the ear.

Consult an Audiologist: If you are experiencing symptoms like earache, hearing loss, or tinnitus due to earwax build-up, it is advisable to seek help from an audiologist who can safely remove blockage through professional earwax removal

Ear Drops: Over-the-counter ear drops can help soften earwax, making it easier to naturally migrate out of the ear. These drops can be beneficial for those with drier earwax.

Regular Ear Check-ups: People who are prone to excessive earwax production, or who have a history of earwax impactions, should consider regular ear check-ups with an audiologist or an ear, nose, and throat specialist.

Professional Earwax Removal in Longmont, CO

Excessive earwax production is a common issue that many individuals face. While earwax is a crucial component of ear health, some people naturally produce more of it than others. 

Understanding the reasons behind this excess production can help individuals better manage their earwax and maintain optimal ear health. If you ever find yourself facing problems related to earwax build-up, it is important to consult a healthcare professional or an audiologist who can provide safe and effective solutions. 

Longmont Hearing and Tinnitus Center offers expert audiology services including professional earwax removal and ear cleaning in Longmont, CO, and nearby locations.

Your hearing and overall ear health are worth the effort. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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