Excess ear wax

Excess Ear Wax: Causes and Treatment

Ear wax, medically known as cerumen, is a natural substance produced by our body. It serves an important purpose in keeping our ears clean and free of foreign materials. Normal ear wax production helps to trap dirt, dust and other debris, thus preventing infections and other irritations. However, in some cases, it can build up and create outer ear blockages which can affect hearing. Finding out the cause of excessive ear wax and getting treatment can help clear this problem.

Causes of Excess Ear Wax

Some of the common causes of excess ear wax production are:

  • Using cotton swabs too frequently
  • Not cleaning your ears regularly
  • Using earbuds and headphones for extended periods of time
  • Making use of hearing aids over time
  • Excessive activity of glands in the ear canal
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Exposure to air pollution and smoke
  • Wearing earplugs
  • Genetic factors
  • Certain types of medications

Symptoms of Excess Ear Wax

Problems associated with excess ear wax include:

  • Decrease in hearing
  • Itching
  • Ear pain
  • Ear infection
  • Tinnitus
  • Coughing
  • Dizziness
  • Tingly sensation in the ear

Treatment for Excess Ear Wax

In most cases, excess wax can be cleared with home remedies, such as:

  • Hydrogen peroxide solution
  • Olive oil
  • Mineral oil
  • Salt water
  • Baby oil

If the above remedies do not work, it is best to consult your doctor. Your doctor may give advice on the right treatment based on the cause of the problem. Treatment options for excessive ear wax include:

  • Ear irrigation
  • Medicated ear drops
  • Manual removal by a doctor or nurse