Harry Potter fans might laugh at the famous Alas! Earwax! line from the movie, but — unless you’re Dumbledore — you’re probably not too excited about this gooey yellow stuff. Quite the contrary, the excess of this substance coming from your ears might be making you feel very uneasy.
So, if you’ve been wondering, “Why do I produce so much earwax?” read on. You’ll learn more about this condition, what causes it, and how you can prevent it in the future.
Why Do I Produce So Much Earwax? 3 Causes
Also called cerumen, earwax is a mix of sebum, sweat, dirt, and keratinocytes (dead skin cells). Sure, that doesn’t sound so pretty, but this yellow goo is actually beneficial for your health. The skin glands in your ear canals produce it to keep your ears clean and safe. Still, the excess earwax can be unnerving and can usually be traced back to one of the three common causes.
1. Excessive Cleaning
Are you used to cleaning your ears with cotton swabs every day? If so, you should know that inserting Q-tips deep inside your ears is neither necessary nor recommended. As it goes, this might only irritate the already sensitive skin in your ear canals and damage it. Thus, your skin ends up producing even more earwax to prevent infections.
2. Overuse of Earbuds
Another thing that might be triggering your excessive earwax production is foreign objects such as hearing aids, earbuds, and earphones. Anything you put inside your ears and leave there for a while is a possible source of infection.
Your ears might try to fight back any such external stimulus by increasing the production of earwax. In some cases, the earwax that builds up deep inside your ears due to a foreign object may even affect your hearing.
3. Natural Irritants
Your earwax buildup can also stem from pollen or other irritants naturally found in the environment. For example, an allergy might cause the Eustachian tube to swell. As a result, this passage becomes clogged and blocked by excess wax and fluid. In the end, this can negatively affect your hearing and make you feel discomfort and pressure inside your ears.
Is Producing So Much Earwax Bad for Your Health?
By now, you might have figured that excessive earwax buildup can sometimes result in minor health-related issues. For example, you may experience ringing in your ears or even vertigo. Large amounts of earwax can also cause temporary hearing loss and completely freak you out. And because untreated earwax buildup is often painful, you might want to prevent it from happening to you ever again.
How to Prevent Earwax Buildup
To make sure there won’t be any excess earwax trapped inside your ear canals, clean your ears with water. If you do opt for cotton swabs, remember to use them only on the outside of your ears. Also, avoid using earbuds and switch to headphones instead. Finally, if these prevention methods don’t help, consult your ENT about ear drops or painkillers.