What is Earwax?
Earwax is an accumulation of many different skin oils, skin debris,
dirt, and other exudates that collects in the ear canal.
How Do I Know if I Have Too Much Earwax?
Without direct inspection by a medical professional, you can never
truly know. However, potential symptoms of earwax issues can
include: hearing loss, dizziness, ear pain, plugging, pressure, itching,
drainage, ringing, fullness, and other uncomfortable sensations.*
Is Earwax Good or Bad?
Earwax, in general, is a good thing. Earwax is the normal lubricant of
the ear. Just as our skin contains lubricating oils to help protect
against drying from water loss and heat damage, ear wax functions
to moisten the ear canal – while also helping to move bacteria,
dirt and other pathogens from the surface and migrating it all out
to the entrance area of the ear canal. Thus, earwax has a protective
function. A moderate coating of earwax is best to keep our ears
protected and healthy. However, excess earwax, dirt and debris can
build up to beyond moderate conditions. Excessive buildup can lead
to extremely dirty and poor functioning ears.*
Why Do I Have a Problem with Earwax?
Quite simply, everyone is different – where some individuals produce
excessive amounts of earwax, others do not. Additionally, it is not
uncommon for one ear to contain an excessive amount of earwax,
where the other ear is perfectly clear. Moreover, some individuals
have a relatively narrow and/or contoured ear canal, which for them,
when coupled with the use of cotton swabs, can contribute to the
production of a an ear canal blockage.
What About Wax Softeners or Irrigation Products?
These can be helpful, but earwax still needs to be removed after
the use of wax softeners. Moreover, blind irrigation may also
potentially flush ear wax deeper into the ear canal by moistening
earwax and encourage infection.*
What About Ear Candles?
Research has shown that ear candles/ear candling have no benefit in the management of earwax (cerumen), and may even result in serious injury.*1
What’s Wrong with Using Cotton Swabs to Clean Your Ears? Please see our Cotton Swab FAQs page.
1 Seely DR, Quigley SM, Langman AW.”Ear candles–efficacy and safety”, Laryngoscope. 1996 Oct;106(10):1226-9
1. Cotton swabs do not work as ear cleaners. The use of cotton swabs as an ear cleaner can smear wax, dirt and debris back into the ear. 75% of earwax blockage is due to the use of cotton swabs.
2. Work environments that include “Dust & Dirt” can promote debris build up in our ears.
3. Sound Protection Foam Ear Plugs can push wax back into the ear.
4. The use of Ear Plug Type “In-Ear” Hearing Buds like those used with Mobile Listening Devices can cause wax to be pushed back into the ear.
5. For Hearing Aid Users; Hearing Aids Fail 70% of the time due to excessive earwax.
5 Facts About Ear Cleaning