Earwax is a substance secreted made by the tiny cerumen glands, located within the skin of the ear canals. You will be surprised to know that the main purpose of the wax is to provide protection to the eardrum and ear canal. It is an integral part of the self-defense system of our body.
How Does Earwax Build Up
Earwax is a lubricating agent with anti-bacterial properties that helps to clean the ear naturally. Earwax has two different forms - one is the dry earwax that is slightly yellowish or sometimes gray in color and the other is the wet earwax, which is yellowish brown. The dryness of dry wax is due to its low lipid or fat content. Dry wax has about twenty percent lipid whereas wet wax contains almost fifty percent lipid. The wet wax is mainly responsible for wax build up as it is harder in nature.
There are so many unwanted materials like dirt, bacteria, insects that enter the ears. These materials are entrapped by the wax and isolated so that they do not cause any harm to the eardrum. After some time, the wax along with dirt attached to it moves out of the ear opening quite easily because of the smooth lubricating surface of the wax. When there is excessive build up of wax inside the ear, the ear canal may get blocked either partially or completely and this can give rise to hearing problems. Usually, earwax build up takes place in any one of the ears first and later, in the other one. However, if the cause is some kind of skin infection or ear infection, then it usually is observed in one ear only.
What Causes Earwax?
Earwax accumulation can be seen in both children as well as adults. In some people, blockage due to wax build up occurs more frequently. It could be possible that either because the ear canals is not too wide or the angle of the passage is such that wax cannot fall out of the ear easily. Those who have hairy ear canals can face similar problems as the hair prevent the wax from coming out. People who work in places where dust is all around are more prone to wax build up due to the excessive dirt that enters the ear. Those who are suffering from any skin disease can suffer from an infection within the ear canal, which may result in the collection of wax in the ear. With advancing age, the process of wax build up increases.
Earwax build up may cause pain in one or both the ears. Other common indications of earwax build up is feeling an obstruction in the ear passage and constant ringing sound in the ears. In some cases, earwax can affect the throat and cause irritation or coughing. Avoid use of cotton swab or stick for cleaning the wax as these may damage the eardrum. You should consult a doctor who can remove earwax using special tools.