Medical Q&As

Ear wax - causes?

I have pain in my ear and bouts of reduced hearing due to the presence of wax. Could you describe this condition in terms of its cause?

It is important to understand that earwax is not dirt and that its function is simply to waterproof and protect the delicate skin lining the outer ear. It is meant to be there but some of us produce more wax than others, which may cause temporary deafness due to plugging of the outer ear. This may necessitate the use of wax softening eardrops or the physical removal of wax through syringing. Sometimes we can make the problem worse by attempting to clean the ears with cotton buds or paper clips! It is extraordinary the lengths to which some people go in order to remove wax from their ears. Such efforts could result in perforation of the eardrum or infection of the outer ear due to abrasion of the delicate skin.