Medically known as cerumen, earwax is a sticky substance produced by the glands in our ear canal. Although mostly made up of dead skin cells, earwax also consists of soluble water secretions such as alcohols, cholesterol, squalene, fatty acids, antibacterial enzymes, and lysozyme. While you may have never given a second thought to earwax, it’s actually one of your body’s most important and creative protective mechanisms.
Earwax is released constantly to prevent dirt from entering the inner parts of the ear. It also prevents the growth of bacteria and protects the skin on your auditory canal from being irritated by water. Additionally, earwax cleans and lubricates the inner lining of the ear. So, without earwax, your ear can easily become dirt infested, infected, waterlogged, dry, and sore.
Earwax usually doesn’t cause problems for as long as it’s produced in sufficient amounts. However, several issues can occur when it becomes too much and accumulates in the ears.
For instance, too much wax will decrease your hearing. It can also lead to itchiness, pain, or a constant ringing sound in the ears known as Titinus. Therefore, excessive wax in the ears is something that you shouldn’t just brush aside. While excessive ear wax may be irritating, the good news is that there are many home remedies to get rid of ear wax. This article offers useful information on earwax blockage plus some of the most effective treatments you can try at home.
Know the Causes
The ear has a nice system in place that helps to prevent a buildup of wax. It does this by eliminating old secretions and thus creating room for newly produced wax. Old earwax automatically moves out of the ear canal and makes its way to the opening of your ear. Once it reaches the ear opening, normal jaw movements such as talking, yawning, and chewing will help this wax to fall off naturally. Any leftover excess wax that doesn’t fall off is washed away when you have a bath.
While this wax production and removal process is enough to ensure wax never builds up, blockage can occur if your ear secretes excessive amounts of wax or if the secreted cerumen is not effectively removed. Over secretion or improper removal of wax can be caused by a number of factors. These include:
- Manual Removal of Earwax
The act of trying to clean ears or remove wax by using cotton swabs or other items is the leading cause of wax blockage. While you may manage to get some cerumen off, this act often results in you pushing the wax deeper into the auditory canal. Once earwax enters the deeper parts of the ear canal, removing it becomes difficult and eventually results in wax blockage if prodding of the ear is continued.
- Fatty Acid Deficiency
Another cause of excess wax buildup is a deficiency of essential fatty acid in the body. Individuals with this problem can simply supplement their diet with high quality omega 3 fatty acids to prevent future wax build up.