Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery
Earwax Build Up and Blockage
Earwax is a substance made in the ear canal by modified sweat glands to clean and protect your ears from foreign debris. Sometimes, earwax can build up in your ear and cause issues such as hearing loss and irritation.
Why Earwax Should Be Left Alone
The sticky substance found in your ears — known as cerumen or “earwax” — can be a nuisance at times. However, it plays an important role in keeping your ears clean and healthy.Learn more about properly handling earwax
- Hearing loss
- Irritation such as itchiness
- Ear pain
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
Diagnosis and Treatment
Since our ears self-clean, most people should not have to worry about cleaning their ears or removing their earwax. However, if you believe your ears have become blocked from too much wax, cleaning yours ears may be appropriate.
For safest removal, it is best to see a specialist, although over-the-counter eardrops, hydrogen peroxide, baby oil, or mineral oil may help soften the wax and encourage it to fall out of the ear on its own.
A diagnosis will be made with a visual exam using an otoscope. If the build up warrants removal, your doctor will use special instruments to manually remove it.
Meet Our Team
Our Hearing and Balanceteam is comprised of some of the world’s finest ear surgeons, skull base surgeons, balance disorder specialists and audiologists.
Did you know?
We have more than 1,000 wax glands in our ears.
Despite its waxy texture, earwax is not actually wax. Rather, it is a mixture of dead skin, fatty acids, cholesterol, squalene and alcohols.
There are two common types of earwax: wet yellow/brown and dry white/gray. A person’s ethnicity, health and environment can affect how it looks, feels and smells.