Cerumen, also known colloquially as earwax, is necessary for maintaining the cleanliness and health of your ears, but it also has the potential to impede proper hearing. It can cause hearing loss, physical pain, tinnitus, ear infections, and other issues when it accumulates over time. Even while you can’t always control how much earwax you generate (a significant part of it is inherited), you can manage other factors that affect its development. The following are three behaviors that contribute to excessive earwax:

Regular and Extensive Usage of Headphones and Earbuds

The creation of earwax is often prompted by something that hearing health care specialists refer to as a contact stimulus. The most common offenders are items such as headphones, earphones, and even hearing aids that come into direct contact with and touch the ears. Your ears are attempting to defend themselves against any potential discomfort or illness by creating more earwax.

If you find that you are creating more earwax than usual, you should attempt to reduce the amount of time you spend using contact listening devices. However, if you are unable to do so (for example, if you use hearing aids), you should at least keep your devices clean and clear of germs.

Inappropriate Cleaning Procedures or Excessive Cleaning

It’s possible that you believe that putting cotton swabs and other things into your ears can assist in the removal of earwax. These may irritate and scrape the delicate skin that is found on the inside of your ears, which can lead to an increase in the production of wax. Additionally, you are forcing wax and other impurities deeper into your ear canal, which puts your eardrum in danger of being damaged.

In addition to the cleaning technique, the frequency of cleaning may also be a factor in the accumulation of extra earwax. Even harmless cleansers, such as hydrogen peroxide or over-the-counter drops, can potentially remove an excessive amount of earwax, leaving behind dry and inflamed skin. When this happens, the body responds by producing more cerumen to protect and coat the ear canal, and you’re right back where you started. If you see this impact, reduce how often you use these cleaning techniques to once or twice each month.

Exposure to Environmental Waste and Irritants

There are times of the year when there is an increase in the pollen count, which may cause issues with not just the sinuses but also the ears. It’s possible that you spend a lot of time in a business that has a lot of dust or that you live next to a factory that pollutes the environment. Your ears may get irritated and see an increase in the production of earwax as a result of all these microscopic particles. Protecting yourself from your surroundings is the next best thing if you can’t change it. When the pollen count and the level of environmental contaminants are high, you should limit your time spent outdoors and use protective gear such as caps and earmuffs.

The amount of earwax that you produce is not always within your control; nevertheless, if you pay attention to these and other lifestyle patterns that cause excessive production, you may help keep your ears clear of buildup, maintain healthy hearing and prevent infections.

Facts About Cerumen

Earwax is named for its waxy, sticky consistency; however, it is not really a wax. There are many different ways to make earwax, but the most important ingredient is sebum (a fat-based bodily secretion).

The ear produces earwax to clean and protect itself. It’s produced by skin glands that border the outer portion of your ear canals. These tubes’ wax and microscopic hairs capture dust and other foreign particles that might harm deeper tissues like your eardrum.

There are two types of earwax: wet and dry. Wet earwax, which is often dark yellow and sticky, is more frequent in Caucasians and Africans. Earwax is often pale in color, dry, and flaky in people of East Asian or Native American descent.

You shouldn’t put anything in your ears to get rid of earwax. Sticking cotton swabs, or anything else long and/or sharp into your ears is not only dangerous, but it can also make wax buildup problems a lot worse by pushing the wax deeper into your ear canals.

For more advice, please call Audiology and Hearing Aid Center on 920-969-1768.

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