Leading cause of hearing loss-Earwax Buildup

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The canal in the ear produces waxy oil known as cerumen commonly referred to as earwax. Earwax is a build-up of dead cells, hair, foreign material such as dust, and cerumen. The importance of the wax in the ear cannot be underestimated because it protects the ear from dust, foreign particles, and microorganisms as well as protection of skin of the ear canal against irritation from water.

Small amounts are made all the time. Flakes or crusts of earwax break off and fall out of the ear from time to time. However, when the glands produce excess earwax than is necessary, it may become hard and block the ear. It is also possible that in the process of cleaning the ears, one can unwittingly push the wax deeper thereby leading to a blockage. The leading cause of temporary loss of hearing is Wax buildup.


The most common cause of earwax blockage is the home removal method as the usage of cotton swabs, bobby pins, or other objects in the ear canal can also push wax deeper leading to a blockage. Frequent use earphones, which can inadvertently prevent earwax from coming out of the ear canals and cause blockages. It needs to be added that some people are however prone to having ear wax than others.
Its look varies from light yellow to dark brown. Signs of earwax buildup include sudden or partial hearing loss, which is usually temporary, tinnitus, which is a ringing, or buzzing in the ear and feeling of fullness in the ear as well as earache.
It is important to know that if the earwax build up is not removed, it can lead to infection. Common symptoms of earwax build up that require urgent medical attention includes severe ear pain, persistent ear pain after treatment, fever, coughing, ear drainage, persistent loss of hearing and an offensive ear smell (odor) as well as dizziness.

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Earwax in Children and Adults
Children, like adults, naturally produce earwax. It is important to consult a pediatrician if the child has earwax build up, avoid the temptation to remove the wax your own as doing so can damage your child’s ears.
Earwax is also problematic in older adults where some adults let the wax buildup go until it gets to the point where hearing is obstructed. Conductive hearing loss cases in older adults are in fact attributed to earwax buildup which muffled sound. The use of hearing aid also contributes to a wax blockage in older adults.

Management of Earwax buildup
It is advisable not to attempt removing earwax buildup yourself as it may cause major damage to the ear and lead to infection or hearing loss. Cotton swabs use should be restricted to the outer portion of the ears if necessary. The under listed are some of the safer management strategies of earwax build up.
Softening Earwax: this can be done using over-the-counter drops made specifically for the purpose. They are mineral oil, baby oil, glycerin, hydrogen and carbamide peroxides
Ear Irrigation: is the process of removing the earwax build up with water. However, do not irrigate your ear if you have an ear injury or have had a medical procedure done on your ear. In irrigating the ear, adhere to the directions provided with an over-the-counter kit, or follow these steps:
Stand or sit with your head in an upright position.
Hold the outside of your ear and pull it gently upward.
With a syringe, send a stream of body-temperature water into your ear. Water that is too cold or too warm can cause dizziness.
Allow water to drain by tipping your head.

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