Earwax can sometimes be a troublesome bodily secretion, but it’s vital for your ear health. Learn how to take care of it.
Earwax, or cerumen, is a waxy oil that protects your ears from debris, dust, water and other foreign matter. Normally, earwax makes its way out of the ear canal naturally and is then washed away. However, when it doesn’t, it can be problematic, including for earwax removal
Some people produce more earwax than average, which can result in blockages and hardening that affects hearing and causes irritation. However, the most common cause of blockage is using the wrong methods for removal, such as cotton buds, which can push the wax deeper. This can also cause damage or infection.
Signs of blockage include partial hearing loss, earache, ringing or buzzing, or a feeling that your ears are full. If this has caused an ear infection you may notice additional symptoms, such as pain, odour, dizziness, coughing, and fever. See your GP for advice, as some of these can be signs of other problems.
Always use safe and approved methods to take care of earwax build-up. Digging the wax out yourself is not one of them. You can try using over-the-counter drops to soften it, or an ear irrigation kit may be worth considering. This process involves syringing room temperature water into your ear, then tipping your head to allow drainage. You should not use this method if you have had a medical procedure, or ear injury.
Even though earwax is a natural part of ear health and will rarely require intervention, infections and obstructions can occur. If you have any discomfort or symptoms, the safest option is to see your GP.
If you would like our doctors to check your ears, book an appointment with us, and we’ll get to the bottom of your hearing concerns.