What Causes Ear Wax Build-Up?

An ear wax build-up (sometimes known as a blockage) usually occurs when a build-up of cerumen (the technical term for ear wax) happens within the ears, to the point that it can’t simply be cleaned away as normal. If you think you may have ear wax build-up, it is very important that you see a medical professional as soon as possible, before attempting to resolve the issue by yourself.

What are the causes of an ear wax build-up?

There are several different things that can cause an ear wax build-up, however, the main cause is when too much cerumen is secreted, leading to a build-up and eventual blockage of wax in the ear. 

This can happen due to an issue with excess cerumen being secreted or may occur when the ear wax is not dislodged naturally. A normal amount of ear wax is expected to enter the ear canal, but this usually gets washed away by the creation of new wax, which replaces it. 

Other causes of an ear wax build-up include skin conditions or inflammation in the ear canal, excess ear hair and damaged ears/ear canals. It can also be caused by patients putting objects into their ears or by the use of cotton buds, which can push the cerumen back into the ear canal.

Symptoms of ear wax build-up

There are several symptoms that can signal a build-up of wax in the ears. These include a blocked feeling in the ear, general earache, tinnitus, vertigo and even a cough, although the symptoms will vary depending on the person. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is advised that you visit a trained medical professional to investigate the issue.

How to treat an ear wax build-up

An ear wax build-up should always be treated by a trained medical professional, as treating it yourself may cause further issues. Cerumen build-up is usually treated by giving eardrops to the patient, and medication may also be provided which can lead the ear wax to soften and fall out on its own. If this does not work, additional treatment may be required – some surgeries may be able to remove the ear wax themselves, usually by a process called microsuction ear wax removal.

If you have any of the symptoms of an ear wax build-up, get in touch with Ear Care Lab today to schedule an appointment.

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