Ear wax is like ‘dirt’ or ‘gunk’, which should not be there in ear normally.
WHAT IS EARWAX?
Cerumen is made up of secretions of the sebaceous and the ceruminous glands located in the outer portion of the ear canal. This will get mixed with dust, dirt and dead skin to form the sticky earwax.
WHAT’S THE USE OF EAR WAX?
Contrary to the popular belief, the ear wax is healthy in normal amounts. It acts as a protective covering of the ear canal and traps dust, sand particles and foreign bodies. It’s a natural moisturiser and maintains the pH of the canal skin, thereby protecting it from microorganisms. The wax act as a water repellent to an extent.
DO ALL OF US NEED TO CLEAN OUR EARS REGULARLY?
The ear canal itself is self-cleansing. Usually, the wax accumulates in bits and naturally migrates to the outside during jaw movements like yawning and chewing, where they dry up and fall off.
WHAT CAUSES WAX TO ACCUMULATE?
Some people make more wax while others make less. Ethnicity, age, environment and even diet can alter the wax production. Anatomical variations like a narrow or tortuous canal, diseases which produce dry skin like eczema, genetic makeup of drier wax consistency, geographical factors such as hot humid climate or working in a dusty environment are all some important causes. Excessive use of cotton buds or likewise are going to push back the already migrated wax deeper into the canal and cause impaction. So is the use of hearing aids, ear plugs and ear phones.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF IMPACTED WAX?
WHAT SHOULD WE DO IF WE HAVE THE ABOVE SYMPTOMS?
Please note that the above symptoms are not specific for ear wax alone. Hence, it’s better to consult an ENT Surgeon. The doctor will examine you and if there’s impacted wax, the doctor will either prescribe wax solvents and/or remove the wax through one of the few methods like suction, syringing or manual removal.
CONSULTANT – ENT
MBBS, MS (ENT)