While most people generally regard ear wax (“cerumen”) as something that should be removed from the ear canal, it plays an important role in maintaining the health of the ear. The only time ear wax should be removed is when it builds up excessively, possibly causing hearing loss, a feeling of fullness in the ear, and infection. In reality, this sticky, shiny substance produced by the wax glands located in the outer part of the ear canal helps clean, protect, and lubricate the ears. Cerumen, which is 20 percent to 50 percent fat, coats the ear canal to moisturize it; fight off infection; and help keep dust, dirt, and other debris from getting deep inside the ear.
Unless you have an earwax blockage, it’s actually best to leave your earwax alone – don’t try to remove it with cotton swabs or other device. If you experience hearing impairment from wax buildup, you can use water, oil, or ear drops to soften the wax to help it migrate out on its own, or you can use ear irrigation to flush the wax out. To schedule a consultation, please call Better Hearing Center. Let us help you get back to the world of hearing at New Hampshire’s premier hearing care provider.
P.S. Once ear wax has done its job, it migrates out of the ear canal and normally dries up and falls away from the ear.