Good intentions to keep ears clean may weaken the ability to hear. The ear is a delicate and intricate body part, including the skin of the ear canal and the eardrum. Therefore, special care should be given to this part of the body. Start by discontinuing the habit of inserting cotton-tipped applicators or other objects into the ear canals.
Earwax is produced by glands in the ear canal. Although scientists are still not completely sure why we have earwax, it does trap dust and other small particles and prevent them from reaching, and potentially damaging or infecting the eardrum.
Earwax SymptomsSymptoms of an earwax impaction include:
- Ear pain
- Ringing in the ear
- Itching or drainage from the ear canal
- Decreased hearing
- Plugged or fullness sensation
If the home treatments discussed in this leaflet are not satisfactory or if wax has accumulated so much that it blocks the ear canal (and hearing), a physician may prescribe eardrops designed to soften wax, or she may wash or vacuum it out. Occasionally, an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist) may need to remove the wax under microscopic visualization.