Ear Wax, By Any Other Name, Can Still Cause Problems
Did you know that ear wax has a more official name? It’s called “cerumen.” It’s produced in the ear canal to protect you from dirt, dust and bacteria that make their way in; the motion of chewing slowly moves the cerumen out of the ear canal and into the bowl of your ear.
Sometimes, cerumen can become impacted. One cause is over-production, which can happen in some people, (wearing hearing aids, or frequent use of earplugs and earbuds, for instance, can stimulate more-than-usual cerumen production). When over-production is coupled with improper attempts to remove it, impacted cerumen is the result.
Improper removal usually takes the form of doing what the warning on a box or cotton swabs tells you not to do. Pushing a cotton swab into your ear canal can easily push ear wax back toward the eardrum, where it blocks sound and can even build up on the eardrum itself, causing further problems. And not to get too graphic, but attempts to clean out your ear canal on our own, with a cotton swab or other item, can result in a punctured eardrum.
Hearing health professionals have special lubricants, tools and, most important, specialized training for removing excess earwax thoroughly and safely. Don’t take risks with your hearing. Give us a call if you think you may have impacted earwax.