All you need to know about earwax

Written by: Dr. Juan Carlos Casado Morente
Published: | Updated: 24/02/2020
Edited by: Top Doctors®

Ear wax is the product of secretion of a ceruminous called apocrine glands and localized in the outer third of the ear canal (CAE) mixed with traces of epithelial desquamation. All this is yellow-brown waxy consistency and unctuous feel a product.

Earwax has a defensive capability for the outer ear and the middle ear and has antimicrobial activity, so that the presence of earwax protects from infections and entry of foreign bodies into the ear canal.

The ultimate expression of accumulation of earwax in the ear canal is a earwax. They are of three types:

  • epithelial
  • Ceruminosos
  • Mixed (the most common)

Causes of earwax

There are two main causes of earwax:

  • Excess production of wax: usually due to irritation of the CAE by mechanical agents (scratching with sharp instruments) or chemicals (lacquer, gel, shampoo)
  • Removal effect: alteration of self - cleaning mechanism for cleaning using instruments like the dreaded ear bud.


Symptoms of earwax

The most common symptoms are:

  • Feeling plugging ear and hearing loss (hard of hearing)
  • Pain - paresthesias
  • tinnitus
  • Vertigo
  • Feeling autophony (voice resonance itself)
  • In patients with hearing aids, very often the Larsen effect (annoying whistling originated in the headset)


Removing earwax

Classically plugs are obscured by syringe Lombard (metal syringe) and warm water. This technique can be safely and quickly in expert hands, but not without complications such as perforation tympanic. For this reason, the best medical specialists in Otorhinolaryngology recommend removal of earwax with microinstrumetal or low vision microaspirador scanning microscope.


Prevention of earwax

The presence of earwax, far from being a sign of poor hygiene, must be seen as a clear sign of good health in the ears. Under normal conditions, the secretion ceruminosa is entrained outwards by an epithelial stream, which comes from the tympanic membrane. This current is involuntary, automatic and constitutes our self - cleaning mechanism. Therefore, the best way to prevent them is to avoid manipulation of the PPAs, ie, avoid cleaning the ear.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dr. Juan Carlos Casado Morente

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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