Earwax, medically referred to as cerumen, provides a valuable service to the body by protecting the canal and inner parts of the ear from dirt, hair, bacteria growth, and the accumulation of dead skin cells. Produced by glands, it is nature’s way of lubricating and cleaning this channel.
Earwax should normally dry up and fall out of the ear. In some cases, however, the ear may produce excessive amounts of wax, or a person may have an oddly shaped ear canal that makes impactions occur.
Excessive earwax can cause health complications that can require medical intervention due to the discomfort and possibility of infections. While some at-home remedies can be effective, it is best to see a doctor who can get a better view and apply proper interventions. Here are some symptoms that may necessitate a doctor’s visit.
Symptom #1: Earache
As excessive earwax builds up in the canal, it hardens to form a plug. When the ear becomes blocked, it is common to get the sensation of earache. This symptom has also been described as a feeling of fullness in the ear. Relief is often quickly achieved when the earwax is cleaned out.
Pain can also be a symptom of infection. The buildup of earwax tends to make the canal more vulnerable to infection thanks to the retention of dirt and bacteria on the surface. If a person makes the mistake of trying to remove this earwax with a cotton bud, they can easily scratch the surface and provide a means for bacteria to penetrate the bloodstream.