The ear canal is lined with hair follicles and glands that produce a waxy oil called cerumen. The wax usually makes its way to the opening of the ear, where it may fall out by itself or during bathing. Ear wax can build up and obstruct the ear canal, and blockage from ear wax is one of the most common causes of hearing loss.
Ear wax protects the ear by trapping and preventing dust, bacteria and small objects from entering and damaging the ear. It also protects the delicate skin of the ear canal from getting irritated when water enters the canal.
In some people, the glands produce more wax than can be easily removed from the ear. This extra wax may harden in the ear canal and cause blockage. When you try to clean the ear with cotton buds, instead of helping , you may instead push wax deeper and cause more problems. Common symptoms of excessive or impacted ear wax include earaches, fullness in the ear, ringing noises in the ear, or hearing loss.
Most cases of ear wax blockage can be treated at home. The following can be used to soften wax in the ear:
Another method is to wash out the wax.
To avoid damaging your ear or causing an infection:
**Never try to clean the ear by putting any object such as a cotton bud/rod into the ear canal.**
If you cannot remove the wax plug or you have discomfort, consult your doctor, who may remove the wax by:
Text adapted from: MedlinePlus
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