Ear Wax

Beneficial Hearing Aid Center

Audiologists located in Ocala, FL

Earwax is a natural substance that serves an important role in your hearing function. However, some men and women are troubled by excessive wax buildup. Too much earwax can be an aesthetic issue when it becomes visible or exits your ears. It can also interfere with your hearing, making it challenging to interact with coworkers, friends, or family. Leigh Ann Watts, AUD, CCC-A, and Allison McMichael, AUD, of Beneficial Hearing Aid Center in Ocala, Florida, can provide a thorough ear exam to determine if earwax is affecting your hearing. To learn more, call the office or book an appointment online today.

Ear Wax

What is earwax?

The medical term for earwax is cerumen. This waxy substance is actually an oil produced by your sebaceous gland, which is located in your ear canal. It is naturally yellow in color.

Earwax works to lubricate, clean, and protect your ears. Without earwax, your ear canals would likely be constantly irritated, dry, and contain large volumes of dirt and debris.

The waxy consistency of earwax repels water, helping to keep your ears at just the right level of moisture. It also traps dirt and other debris, which keeps bacteria, fungi, and even insects from entering your ear and damaging your eardrum. 

As your earwax collects these unwanted substances, its composition changes. Earwax consists of a blend of keratin, cholesterol, and various saturated and unsaturated fatty acids and alcohols. The vast bulk of your earwax, however, is made of dead skin cells. 

How does earwax exit my ears?

Every time you speak, eat, or yawn, you are mobilizing your jaw. That movement helps your earwax move out of your ear canal and closer to the opening of your ear. 

As it becomes exposed to more air, the wax hardens and dries up. It will eventually fall out of your ear. 

This entire process is ongoing, and wax is constantly moving through these phases. There’s no need to try and move the process along by inserting cotton swabs or other items into your ear canal. 

When can earwax become a problem?

Some people experience a buildup of earwax that will eventually impact hearing. In those cases, a professional evaluation and cleaning is the best way to address the problem.

Avoid the temptation to try and clean your ears yourself. The most likely outcome is that you will push the accumulated wax even further into your ear canals, making it that much harder to remove down the line. 

Some of the risk factors for excessive earwax include:

  • Significant hair within the ear canals
  • Advanced age, as earwax hardens and dries out as you grow older
  • Recurring ear infections or problems with impacted wax
  • Narrow or malformed ear canals
  • Lupus or a condition called Sjogren’s syndrome

If you’d like to come in for a professional exam and ear cleaning, book a one-on-one appointment today. Online scheduling makes it easy to find a time that fits your busy life, or call or stop by the office to check appointment availability.