Definition: Accumulation of wax in the external auditory canal.
What is the function of ear wax?
The external auditory canal produces a waxy oil which is also known as "Cerumen" which protects the ear from dust, foreign particles and microorganisms.
The cerumen also protects the skin of the auditory canal from water irritation.
What are the causes of ear wax buildup (accumulation)?
- At-home removal of excess wax: this is the most common cause, as trials to remove the wax using cotton or ear swabs can accidentally lead to pushing the wax deeper leading to ear blockage.
- Some people tend to produce much ear wax, but it doesn't cause blockage unless they try to remove it at home.
Symptoms of ear wax blockage:
- Transient deafness (usually after bathing).
- Ear pain (otalgia).
- Sensation of ear fullness.
Symptoms of secondary infection on top of unremoved ear wax
- Severe ear pain that doesn't subside.
- Ear discharge.
- Persistent deafness.
- Bad odour coming out from the ear.
If the patient experiences the later symptoms of infection, he should seek medical advice soon.
- Hard wax (brown color) of soft wax (yellow color).