What is earwax?

Earwax (Latin Cerumen) is a yellow-brown substance, which is found in the external ear canal. It is a mixture of secretions of the sebaceous glands, sweat glands and cerumen glands, as well as flaked epidermis, hairs and dust particles. It has an important role in the process of self-cleaning, lubricating and protecting the ear canal.
Excess earwax should be regularly removed from the inside of the ear canal.
Its long-term build-up can cause the formation of an earwax plug.

What are the symptoms of an earwax plug?

The emergence of excess earwax in the ear canal can manifest itself by:

  • the sensation of a “clogged ear” – hypoacusia,
  • a buzzing in the ears,
  • ear pain,
  • itchiness and a feeling of discomfort.

Often this problem arises suddenly, after a bath due to the swelling of the earwax under the influence of moisture.

What are the factors conducive to the formation of an earwax plug?

Doctors include the following as the underlying factors responsible for the emergence of excess earwax:

  • the specific build of infants’ and children’s’ ear canal,
  • overproduction of earwax in the elderly,
  • irritation of the ear canal e.g. through poor hygiene (e.g. the use of cotton buds),
  • the lack of regular prophylactic care,
  • water sports and frequent baths,
  • the use of hearing aids and using earphones that are inserted into the ear.