Earwax buildup and blockage can occur for many reasons, but regardless of the cause, it is essential that you promptly address accumulation. Although earwax may not appear to be a pressing health issue, build up of earwax can lead to infections, pain, and other longstanding hearing problems. The friendly physicians at the walk-in clinics of the UrgentMED Network can provide quick service with little to no waiting time. Visit them today for fast earwax removal service near you.
Removing Earwax at Home
Managing earwax buildup at home is a risky endeavor that can result in potentially longterm damage to the eardrum if not administered properly. Many home remedies such as using Q-tips or ear candles, for earwax removal make the issue worse. As such, we strongly recommend that anyone suffering from earwax buildup seek professional earwax removal from a medical professional. A physician can effectively remove earwax with irrigation, suction, or scraping.
The Benefits of Earwax
Earwax is a bodily secretion, scientifically known as cerumen, produced by glands in the ear canal. It can vary in appearance with a naturally-occurring range of color of light yellow to dark brown. Earwax color is not indicative of earwax buildup so no particular color should be associated with a blockage being present.
This beneficial substance has many practical uses and protects the ear canal in multiple ways. The primary duty of earwax is to act as the ear canal’s shield, preventing foreign particles such as dust, hair, or microorganisms from entering the inner ear and potentially damaging the eardrum. Earwax is also a natural cleanser that moves outward from the inner ear, collecting dead skin cells and other debris and discarding them as the earwax naturally dries and falls out of the ears. Lastly, earwax prevents water and other liquids from irritating the delicate ear canal skin.
Despite earwax’s many beneficial properties, there is such a thing as producing too much.
Common Signs of Earwax Buildup
It can be challenging to self-diagnose whether your ear has overactive earwax production and if you are experiencing an earwax blockage. Since there are virtually no visual indications of a problem, getting regular checks from a medical professional is recommended to maintain healthy ears. However, there are several readily identifiable common symptoms which can be attributed to earwax buildup and be used to determine whether a blockage is present.
Sudden or partial hearing loss (temporary)
Earwax buildup is one of the most common causes of temporary hearing loss. The temporary hearing loss can occur in one ear at a time as well as both. If this persists for longer than 24 hours, consult a medical professional immediately.
Tinnitus is the medical term for the condition of hearing sounds in the ears. Ringing is the most common symptom but buzzing, whistling, and roaring are “ringing” alternatives that are frequently heard as well. Tinnitus is commonly caused by damage to the middle or inner ear.
Feeling pressure in the ear
This uncomfortable sensation is known by several names: ear barotrauma, stuffy ears, amongst others. Most individuals experience this when in airplanes or submerging in water – any scenario where air pressure changes. When experienced temporarily due to fluctuations in air pressure, there is no cause for alarm. A constant feeling of ear pressure, on the other hand, is caused by a blockage of the eustachian tube and is often linked to tinnitus or ear infection.
Earache and Ear Infections
Accumulation of earwax buildup can lead to an infection. If you are frequently experiencing ear infections or the symptoms of an infection, consult a physician to determine whether earwax buildup is the culprit. Signs of an ear infection include severe pain in the ear that may or may not subside, visible drainage from the ear, hearing loss, an odor coming from the ear, coughing, fever, or dizziness.
Causes of Earwax Buildup
Natural Earwax Production
Just as with any other human characteristic, earwax production varies between individuals. This means that the color, type, and amount of earwax produced can differ significantly. Additionally, the shape of the ear canal can affect how easy or difficult it is for earwax to move through (and eventually out of) the ear canal. Smaller ear canals, or those of unusual shapes, can account for earwax having a harder time making the natural motions through the ear canal and hence, resulting in earwax buildup.
Q-Tips and other Foreign Objects
However, more often than not, earwax blockage is self-inflicted. A blockage typically occurs when foreign objects are inserted into the ear canal. Q-tips are a common culprit; these often incorrectly used swabs push earwax further down the ear canal rather than removing it. Not only does using a Q-tip perform the opposite of the desired effect, but if inserted too far, can damage the eardrum, potentially causing permanent hearing loss.
Other objects that may inadvertently cause an earwax blockage are hearing aids, earplugs, or headphones. These both push earwax further in the ear canal and also obstruct the opening which can prevent earwax from following its natural course of falling out the ear.
Fast and Efficient Earwax Removal Service
If you suspect that you may have an ear canal blockage from earwax, stop by any walk-in clinic part of the UrgentMED Network for fast earwax removal with no appointment necessary. The medical staff is available seven days a week to determine whether you are experiencing any hearing loss, suffering from an ear infection, or any other ear-related medical concern. Our licensed physicians can safely clear any excess earwax from your ear canal at any of our 14 Southern California locations.