Ear Wax creation and purpose
Ear Wax, is formed inside the outer third to the ear canal, inside the small cerumen glands within the skin. The wax oozes gradually towards the ear hole as the person producing it engages in conversation. After some time the wax dries up, becomes flaky and falls out. It is integral to the way the ear cleans itself naturally, due to its anti-bacterial and lubricating traits, as well as its dust collecting stickiness.
Ear Wax Buildup
Extensive cleaning of the ear can push wax inside the ear drum, possibly causing blockage, and can also lead to over-production of ear wax, therefore it is not recommended, and should be avoided. An exception, is a condition called twisted ear canal, which occurs in people born with a curve in the canal that can cause a buildup of wax. This kind of buildup is accompanied by a dryness and itch within the ear, as well as possible hearing loss and pain. The high fat content of wet wax makes it effective at collecting dirt. It is also making it easier to block the ear, while the dry wax loses fifty percent of this fat and becomes dry and flaky. The wax encases the harmful outside material that moves into the ear and proceeds to slide it out the ear on its lubricating surface. When wax does build up it tends to do so in one ear and then the other, but a single ear blockage is possible in the case of skin or ear infection blockage.
Causes and symptoms
The width of the ear canal, or the angle through which the wax passes, can both affect the onset of blockage. Hairiness is also a factor, as well as its location, as excess hair or dust and dirt can block the path of the earwax, and cause it to build up. Infection, can also be an instigator. Age is also a big factor that inevitably increases the wax production.
Symptoms include pain, constant ringing sounds, a feeling of a clogged ear and occasionally coughing and throat irritation. Visiting a medical professional is advised in lieu of using a cotton swab, which is usually harmful as it can not only lead to more buildup, but can potentially cause injury to the eardrum.