Earwax Removal – Should You Do It at Home or See an ENT?
The ear is a complex structure that if treated improperly can cause a host of follow-on issues, infection, and hearing loss among them. Not all hearing loss is due to age or loud noise exposure. A build-up of earwax, known medically as cerumen, can also cause significant hearing-related symptoms. The ear consistently secretes an oily to waxy substance that when mixed with dead skin cells, hair, and foreign material, becomes what we commonly refer to as earwax (known medically as “cerumen”). It is secreted by specialized sebaceous (oil) glands that shed with the superficial skin layer. This slowly makes its way outward through the ear canal, where it either dries and flakes away, falls out or can be removed from the outer ear very quickly.
Earwax does have an important function. That sticky, gooey residue-like buildup in your ear traps dirt and bacteria, and maintains the proper pH for skin health and preventing fungal and bacterial growth. It also contains enzymes which prevent infection. As such, earwax plays a vital role in your overall ear health.