Earwax, also known as cerumen, is a natural, self-cleaning substance that protects the eardrum. Cerumen functions to block out bacteria or debris that may cause ear infections. Over time, earwax builds up and works its way out of your ear canal. However, it is possible for earwax to build up enough to cause mild, temporary hearing loss, ear pain, dizziness, and ringing in the ears.
What are the Symptoms of Earwax buildup?
- Reduced ability to hear clearly
- Dizziness or vertigo
- The sensation that your ears are “plugged”
- Ringing in ears
- Evidence of ear canal drainage or itching
Hearing aids, earplugs, and Q-tips are the most common culprits of earwax buildup. It is not recommended to use Q-tips to clean out your ear canal because it can push earwax deeper into the ear or cause permanent damage to the eardrum if pushed too far. This method of cleaning can lead to disruption of hearing, tinnitus, or earaches. Excessive cleaning of your ears may cause your ear canals to become dry, itchy, or may cause discomfort.
If earwax buildup occurs and is not serious, it is recommended that you use a warm washcloth to clean the outer area of your ears. If the wax has become hardened or difficult to remove, you can apply a few drops of oil or glycerin to soften the wax for removal. Small pointy objects such as cotton swabs are often used incorrectly and are not recommended for frequent use.
Wax-softening ear drops or using warm water to flush out the ear are some effective treatments of earwax buildup. However, it is important to discuss your earwax buildup with your Alabama ENT Specialist before administering treatment yourself. They can provide the safest and efficient way to treat your earwax buildup symptoms and suggest ways to avoid this complication in the future. If you have any questions regarding ear wax treatment or any other service, visit our blog.