Ear Wax

Most commonly found on the end of the fingers on children and adults alike, ear wax or cerumen, is a harmless substance made by glands within your ear. It plays an important role in protecting the ear and keeping it clean. It does this by trapping dirt and germs and preventing them from progressing deeper into the ear canal and causing an ear infection.

Ear wax moves out of the ear canal naturally and takes the dirt, germs and dead skin cells with it. Simple movements such as opening and closing your jaw (talking and chewing) help the movement process. You normally don’t even notice small amount of ear wax come out, usually during your daily shower or bath. Some people produce more than the normal amount of ear wax, not due to poor hygiene but due to several reasons:

  • They may have a narrow or hairy ear canal
  • Work in dirty/dusty environments
  • Use a cotton bud to clean your ears (my favourite but not a good idea)
  • Wear a hearing aid or head phones regularly

If you think you may have a ear wax build up some common signs to look for are:

  • You have a feeling of a full ear
  • Ringing noises
  • Dizziness
  • Hearing problems
  • Any earache or pain in your ear

Your local pharmacists and GP can help in letting you know if you have an excessive ear wax build up and refer you to an appropriate specialist if your situation is more severe (infection).

Apart from heading to your local pharmacy to grab an ear wax softener like Waxsol, you can try using olive or almond oil drops into your ear. The usual directions here would be fill the ear canal twice a day over 2-3 days.

Remember – don’t try and remove the wax via your fingers or using cotton buds. You don’t want to push anything further in or cause damage to the ear canal.

 

References:

Health Direct

Better Health Victoria

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