Being able to hear is often taken for granted. It's a necessary tool for communication, survival, and education. It's also a method by which many spend recreation time. Listening to music, watching and listening to the television, and even something as simple as talking with friends is all made better by being able to hear. However, the ability to hear can become reduced when you allow a buildup of earwax to occur within the ear. Earwax has its uses. For example, it primarily exists to block potentially harmful particles from entering the ear. For those who have experienced earaches before, you're likely grateful for this function of earwax. However, earwax that continues to build up can cause problems as well. As such, it is critical to know the causes of earwax buildup, so you can take steps to keep your ears healthy and functional.
Prone To Producing More Earwax
Sometimes an individual may just be prone to producing more earwax than others. The amount of earwax typically produced in a person is entirely individualized. While this, in itself, isn't a problem, if measures aren't taken to help reduce the amount of wax in an ear, the individual in question might start experiencing some hearing loss. Specialized wax glands in the ear canal produce wax. How much is produced is basically up to your genetic makeup, so it's really a random draw.
A patient may not even realize they produce a lot of earwax until they begin to notice a clogging sensation in their ears. Luckily, for those who produce a lot of earwax, there are a lot of treatments available to help reduce the amount produced. Sometimes it can be as simple as drops in your ear that help soften the wax. These can then leak out of the ear normally. The clogging sensation will be removed, and patients won't have to worry about their ears producing more wax than needed.
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Frequent Use Of Earbuds
While the days of using over-the-head earphones are over, the new earbuds that have become popular over the last few years are actually having an impact on earwax buildups. Frequent use of earbuds, in fact, can cause a bit of damage to your ear's natural cleaning process. New wax is created within the inner ear and pushes old wax to the outer ear. This old wax dries up and falls out of the ear. The regular use of earbuds, however, prevents old wax from being pushed out of the ear.
As a result, individuals left with old wax that has already performed its job of keeping bacteria and other unpleasant particles from entering the ear building up within the ear. This can cause ear aches and other problems associated with the ears and hearing. Not to mention, earbuds can also collect bacteria and old earwax if they're not cleaned regularly. So, you may want to set them aside from time-to-time and appreciate the old over-the-head earphones instead.
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Similar to earbuds, if you have to use hearing aids, you're in the same boat as individuals who regularly use earbuds. Except, because hearing aids need to be worn practically all of the time, patients are in even more danger of developing high levels of wax. Because the ear tends to produce more wax when there's a foreign object in the ear, such as a hearing aid, it's going to be producing more and more wax so long as the hearing aid inside of the ear.
This can create quite a few problems. For one, similar to earbuds, a hearing aid keeps the ear from being able to perform its usual cleaning process. Old earwax remains trapped inside of the ear, and you're left with a few health problems. However, earwax can also have an unfortunate impact on the hearing aid itself. A buildup of earwax on the hearing aid can eventually degrade the delicate components that make it work. As such, you have to buy new ones or have them repaired. Take the aids out consistently to clean them and allow your ear to undergo its natural cleaning process.
Read on to reveal how a common practice to remove earwax can actually result in earwax buildup.
Inserting Cotton Buds Into The Ear
Individuals who have noticed up an earwax buildup in their ear may immediately head for the old inserting cotton buds into ear method of relief. This, however, is actually a bad idea. For one, you're faced with the foreign invader methodology again. The ear doesn't recognize the cotton bud and as such produces more wax to remove the cotton. Second, you're actually doing more harm than good. A cotton bud can't do too much in regards to cleaning your ears. They basically end up pushing the wax further down the ear, which can cause earwax impaction, as well as a lot of infections and aches.
The cotton bud can also rupture the inner eardrum if you're not careful. Not only is rupturing the eardrum extremely painful, but it could also have a severe impact on your hearing for the rest of your life. If you feel the need to clean your ears, focus on the outer ear with some soap and water and cloth instead.
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Certain Medical Conditions
Certain medical conditions could lead to an increase of earwax buildup as well. Inflammatory conditions of the skin and scalp, such as eczema and seborrhea, can cause an excess amount of earwax buildup. Another autoimmune disease that causes excessive earwax buildup is lupus. It may also stem from an infectious disease commonly known as swimmer's ear, as when water enters the ear canal, it causes the wax to swell up, producing more earwax as well as discomfort or pain. You may also find when you're sick from the flu, common cold, or another ailment that your body produces more earwax than normal. It's just another response of your body to fend off germs and bacteria.