The ear canal is shaped somewhat like an hourglass, narrowing part way down. The skin of the outer part of the canal has special glands that produce Earwax.
Earwax blockage is one of the most common causes of hearing loss.
This earwax is supposed to trap dust and dirt particles to keep them from reaching the eardrum. Usually the earwax accumulates a bit, dries out and then comes tumbling out of the ear, carrying dirt and dust with it, or it may slowly migrate to the outside where it can be wiped off.
The ear canal may be blocked by earwax when attempts to clean the ear push earwax deeper into the ear canal.
Symptoms of Earwax Buildup
- Partial hearing loss
- Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ear)
- Fullness in the ear
- A sensation the ear is plugged
Treatment of Earwax Buildup
If you want to clean your ears, you can wash the external ear with a cloth over a finger, but do not insert anything into the ear canal.
Under ideal circumstances, you should never have to clean your ear canals. However, we all know that this isn’t always so.
In the event that the home treatments are not satisfactory or earwax has accumulated so much that it blocks the ear canal, your physician may prescribe eardrops designed to soften earwax or may wash or vacuum it out.
Occasionally, an Otolaryngologist may need to remove the earwax using microscopic visualization.