Earwax – Causes, Dangers and Treatment

Earwax is probably not something you think about much, but it is actually a really important part of your ear health

Earwax is an efficient, self-cleaning service for your ears and helps to protect the sensitive ear canal from things like bacteria and debris that can cause infections. Produced naturally by the glands in the ear canal, you’ll recognise earwax as any colour from yellow, to bright orange, to dark brown. Your body will normally produce enough earwax to maintain health on its own, but sometimes this wax can become hard and impacted, which can lead to problems like hearing loss or discomfort.

Why do we have earwax?

Earwax is anti-bacterial and its sticky texture stops bacteria and germs moving further into the ear where they can cause infections. It also lubricates the skin and helps maintain the ear’s natural pH balance. Its slightly acidic pH is hostile to bacteria, stopping growth and possible infection. Earwax is also a natural insect repellent so keeps creepy crawlies out of your ear canal.

How can you clean your ears safely?

Your ears are designed to be self-cleaning and will normally produce enough earwax to prevent problems occurring and make its way out of the ear, completely on its own.

Many people use cotton buds in an effort to clean excess wax from their ears, but this is actually more likely to cause earwax blockages and further issues. Rather than removing the earwax it instead pushes it further into the ear, which leads to a build-up or impacted wax.

If you experience sudden or partial hearing loss, a feeling of fullness in the ear, earache or tinnitus, it’s possible you have impacted earwax. If you are having any problems, it is worth booking an appointment with a hearing professional to see if wax needs to be removed from your ears.

Common causes of impacted wax include cotton buds, hearing aids, earbud earphones and earplugs.

Earwax removal service at Specsavers

The safest and easiest way to get rid of excess or stubborn earwax is to see a professional. Many Specsavers stores now offer earwax removal by trained and accredited hearing care professionals. To book an appointment, please call a store and ask about a wax triage appointment, where a hearing care professional will give advice, soften the wax for removal and arrange a removal appointment.



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