What Causes Earwax?
Earwax is naturally produced by the body to help protect, clean and lubricate the ear. Earwax is secreted by the glands in the skin lining the ear canal in order to prevent foreign particles from penetrating deep into the canal and damaging the eardrum.
With the assistance of chewing and the regular motions of the jaw, small amounts of earwax are continuously transported from the ear canal to the opening of the ear. It then dries and is either washed away or falls out as new wax is secreted.
While earwax is usually extremely beneficial due to its lubricating and antibacterial properties, the buildup of an excessive amount can lead to blockage or impaction.
Causes of Buildup and Blockage
Some of the symptoms of earwax blockage include pain, reduced hearing, a ringing in the ear, a feeling of the ears being plugged and in some cases discharge.
A main cause of earwax blockage is attempting to clean the ear with a cotton-tipped swab or other object. This ill-advised cleaning method simply pushes the wax deeper into the ear, obstructing the ear canal.
Hearing aid users are particularly susceptible to the buildup of excess earwax. When hearing aids are inserted, they can push wax deeper into the ear canal. They can also hinder the normal draining process. The over use of headsets and earplugs can have the same effect as hearing aids.
As we get older, a combination of the skin in the ear canal becoming drier and an increase in cilia – hairs in the ear – can also increase earwax buildup.
What Not to Do…
The old saying about never putting anything smaller than your elbow in your ear is still good advice. Never use cotton-tipped swabs or other objects such as pen caps or hairpins to clean your ears.
In addition to pushing the wax deep into your ear can where it will become trapped, you may irritate the ear canal and wind up with an infection. Sharp objects pose the further risk of causing bleeding and other serious damage.
Another home remedy to avoid is ear candling. This technique attempts to create a vacuum to draw wax out of the ear by inserting one end of a cone into the ear and lighting the end. Not only is this ineffective, but it can be dangerous, resulting in burns, further obstruction of the ear canal, and injury to the membrane of the skin in the ear.
… And What to Do
In some severe cases of wax buildup, you may need to see your doctor. However, most of the time, safe and medically-approved Murine® Earwax Removal Drops offer the ideal solution.
The Carbamide Peroxide Earwax Removal Drops from Murine® are specially formulated to soften, loosen and remove excessive earwax. Individuals with recurring problems of earwax buildup appreciate these easy-to-use drops.
You simply tilt your head sideways and place five to ten drops into your ear, twice daily for up to four days. Any wax remaining after the period of treatment is easily removed by flushing your ears with warm water using a soft bulb syringe which is included when you buy the Murine® Ear Wax Removal System. If there is a possibility of a hole (perforation or puncture) in the eardrum, consult a physician.
Keeping Your Ears Healthy
Unlike your teeth or nails, your ears do not usually require much maintenance. However, they are complex and sensitive instruments that should be handled with care.
Wash your ears regularly when showering or bathing, making sure to only clean the external part of the ear and to dry them thoroughly afterwards.
Try to avoid exposure to loud music or noises which can damage your ears and lead to hearing loss. Ear protection should also be worn if your occupation requires you to be exposed to load noise throughout the day.