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The Danger of Ear Wax Buildup

Learn about the dangers of ear wax buildup and what symptoms to look for that are related to excess ear wax.

Most people rarely think about ear wax. Most of the time, there is no reason to. However, if you begin to notice more ear wax than usual or the inside of your ears ache, you should see your physician to check for ear wax buildup.

Symptoms of excess ear wax include earaches, feelings of fullness in the ear, ringing noises, and decreased hearing. Sometimes these symptoms are simply due to an excess buildup of wax. Other times, it may indicate you have a different problem, such as an ear infection or an object lodged in the ear canal. 

 

What to Do If You Have Symptoms of Excess Ear Wax

The first thing to do if you have any of these symptoms is to see your physician or an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor. The provider will inspect inside the ear canal and diagnose the problem. Many times, the doctor will remove the excess wax to prevent infection from forming. Some people who experience this will continue to have the issue in the future. Other people have only experienced it one time, never to see it again. 

 

What Not to Do 

If your ear feels achy or full, do not use cotton swabs to try to clean it out. In fact, cotton swabs are never a good idea to use inside your ear. Using cotton swabs can impact the ear wax or push the wax further down into the ear canal, causing additional problems. Don’t try to irrigate or soften the ear wax. Leave your ear alone, and contact your doctor. Your doctor may suggest these methods at a later time, but a proper initial diagnosis is needed first.

 

Ear Wax Buildup in Children

Just as with adults, children can also have ear wax buildup. If your child is complaining of an earache or is frequently pulling at one of their ears, schedule an appointment with their pediatrician. Children are much more prone to ear infections than adults, so be sure to schedule it right away. 

More often than not, ear wax is not a concern. It is a rare problem among adults, so signs and symptoms may not be obvious right away. Long-term wax build up can cause infections and temporary hearing loss, so be sure to see a doctor if you’re unsure of your symptoms. 

 

Sources: 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/earwax-blockage/symptoms-causes/syc-20353004

https://www.healthline.com/health/earwax-buildup#signs-and-symptoms

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