Earwax build-ups: What to do?
Earwax or cerumen is normal and even necessary to protect the ear canal from any type of external agent, such as insects, fungi, bacteria, etc. However, this earwax or cerumen can solidify in some people to the point of creating a plug inside the ear.
Knowing what to do when an earwax build-up appears is critical to preserve the health of the ear. Keep on reading and you will learn all the details.
Why and how do earwax build-ups form?
As is well known, earwax is produced daily by the body as a method of protection and self-cleaning. This process helps to expel the earwax with all the micro particles trapped in it through the constant movement of the jaw.
Whenever this discharge process is inhibited for any reason, the earwax begins to accumulate and eventually solidifies creating the well-known earwax build-up. The appearance of this condition is the most common in consultation, since there are many factors that influence the correct earwax expulsion.
Here are some of the causes for earwax build-ups to develop
You can find out the cause of your earwax build-up with the help of an ENT doctor who can fix it and define methods to prevent it.
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Symptoms of earwax build-ups
Here are some of the symptoms for you to recognize this condition:
Impaired sound perception
The earwax build-up may cause a total or partial obstruction, depending on the size and the space available for the passage of sound waves.
In other words, a gradual decrease in hearing ability or a sudden loss of hearing can be felt, especially when water enters the ear along with the build-up, which is the most common reason patients come in for a medical check-up.
While it may appear to be permanent damage, the earwax build-up only causes a temporary blockage in hearing that disappears when the condition recedes.
Foreign body sensation inside the ear
The earwax build-up is a solid body that is trapped inside the ear canal and moves during the patient’s daily routine, especially when chewing or swallowing. This is why the patient feels the presence of an object inside the ear that sometimes can be mistaken for insects.
A constant and painful discomfort can be felt as a warning of the presence of a foreign body inside the ear. The ear canal can become sensitized and cause irritation.
Dizziness or vertigo
Hearing is the sense that allows us to manage our balance as well as our orientation. When there is an ear blockage, the patient may suffer from unexpected dizziness.
Earwax build-up movement inside the ear while the patient eats or drinks water may cause some sensitivity described as itching.
Treatments to remove earwax build-ups
Options for treating earwax build-ups should be performed by an ENT physician, as there are risks of injuring the eardrum. Furthermore, consider that the sooner you decide to fix the condition the better and faster the treatment will be.
Ear lavage with irrigation
This is the most common technique to remove earwax build-ups. For this procedure, the doctor recommends a few drops a day in advance in order to weaken the earwax build-up and make the intervention more effective.
At the time of treatment, the ENT specialist uses a syringe with warm water to perform a pressure wash and disintegrate the wax. This is where the knowledge of a specialist is required to focus the pressure to the exact point without endangering the health of the internal organs of the ear.
The process is painless, although it may cause discomfort to the patient when experiencing the washing.
With the help of pressurized water, the earwax build-up disintegrates and comes out of the ear canal allowing the patient to recover immediately.
Ear lavage is recommended for people with no history of eardrum perforation or surgery.
The other treatment option consists of extracting the earwax build-up by means of specialized suction or aspiration, which is performed with the appropriate tools used by an ENT doctor who does what is necessary to completely remove the earwax build-up.
It is recommended for people who have contraindicated the previous treatment because they have a history of ear problems.
Why is it important to remove any foreign object from the ear?
The ear is a delicate, complex and critical organ for the development of human life. Its care is essential, and when you feel that a foreign object is in your ear, it is necessary to remove it as soon as possible.
Foreign objects inside the ear can cause pain, severe damage to hearing and infections. Therefore, if you identify any discomfort, do not hesitate to see a specialist for help.
Dr. Lech is an ENT specialist and can help you improve the health of your ear
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How to avoid earwax build-ups?
There is no exact formula to prevent the formation of earwax build-ups that are produced by internal characteristics of the ear. However, here are some tips to improve your self-care habits and at the same time help to avoid earwax accumulation.
Do earwax build-ups clear up on their own?
No, earwax build-ups need the intervention of a professional to be removed. If you wait too long the earwax build-ups can cause infections as well as other more serious damage.
See a specialist as soon as you feel it is necessary.