The Ultimate Guide to Earwax: Causes, Symptoms, and Solutions

The Ultimate Guide to Earwax: Causes, Symptoms, and Solutions

Understanding Earwax Build Up

Earwax, also known as cerumen, is a substance produced by the glands in the ear canal. Its purpose is to protect the delicate skin of the ear canal and prevent dust, debris, and harmful microorganisms from entering the ear.

However, sometimes the production of earwax becomes excessive, leading to a build-up that can cause discomfort and affect your hearing. In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for earwax build up.

Causes of Earwax Build Up

Several factors can contribute to the excessive production or accumulation of earwax:

  • Natural production: Some individuals naturally produce more earwax than others.
  • Blockage: Hearing aid or earphone use, frequent use of cotton swabs, or inserting foreign objects into the ear can push the earwax deeper into the ear canal, leading to a build-up.

Symptoms of Earwax Build Up

The symptoms of earwax build up may vary from person to person, but commonly include:

  • Earache or pain
  • Decreased hearing or hearing loss
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear
  • Dizziness or vertigo

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis.

Treatment Options for Earwax Build Up

The treatment for earwax build up depends on the severity of the condition. Here are some common treatment options:

  • Earwax softening drops: These over-the-counter drops help to soften the earwax, making it easier to remove.
  • Ear irrigation: A healthcare professional may perform ear irrigation using a syringe or specialized equipment to flush out the earwax.
  • Manual removal: In some cases, a healthcare professional may manually remove the earwax using specialised tools.

It is important to note that attempting to remove earwax at home using cotton swabs or other objects can be dangerous and may push the earwax deeper into the ear or cause damage to the ear canal.

Preventing Earwax Build Up

While it may not be possible to completely prevent earwax build up, there are some measures you can take to minimise its occurrence:

  • Avoid inserting objects into your ear, including cotton swabs or hairpins.
  • Clean the outer ear with a washcloth during your regular bathing routine.
  • If you use hearing aids, follow proper cleaning and maintenance guidelines.

If you are prone to recurrent earwax build up, it is advisable to schedule regular check-ups with a healthcare professional who can monitor and manage the condition.


Earwax build up can be a common and bothersome issue, but with proper understanding and care, it can be effectively managed. If you experience symptoms of earwax build up, seek professional medical advice to ensure safe and appropriate treatment.

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