Excessive Wax build up
Firstly, rest assured that Ear Wax is perfectly natural and is not a sign that you are unclean! Earwax lubricates and protects the ear from dust, germs, irritation and foreign substances. The ear is "self-cleaning" and wax and dead skin cells migrate out of the ear canal, a simple wipe with a flannel is usually all that is needed to clean your ears. Putting anything into your ears to clean them such as a cotton bud (pen or hairclip!) can interfere with the natural ear cleaning process and cause more problems, remember what Granny used to say "never put anything in your ear that is smaller than your elbow"!
As we age our ears become less efficient at the self cleaning process and a build up of excessive wax can occur. There are other factors which also contribute to the build up of earwax:
Causes of Wax Build Up
Some people naturally produce more wax than others
Working in a noisy or dusty environment can stimulate wax production
Hairy Ears or Narrow Ear Canals can inhibit the natural self cleaning process
Regular use of Hearing Aids, Earplugs and Earphones can stimulate the production of wax
Age, wax becomes harder -another one of the joys of getting older! We also become less efficient with the natural self cleaning process
Use of cotton Buds. You may appear to have a lot of wax on the end of the bud but you have no idea how much you have actually pushed further into your ear canal. The eardrum lies at the end of the ear canal and is a very delicate structure, pushing anything into the ear can cause damage to the eardrum which could lead to pain, in infections and perminent hearing loss.
Signs You Have Excessive Earwax
Your Hearing has gone dull
Your ear feels blocked
Your ear feels suddenly full after a shower or swim and doesn't clear
Tinnitus ( a noise in your ear) or worsening Tinnitus
Problems with your hearing aid (feedback or loss of clarity)