Ear wax, also known as cerumen, is a light brown, honey colure substance but it changes colour and consistency as it ages. . It protects the skin of the human ear canal, assists in cleaning and lubrication, and provides protection against bacteria, fungi, and water.
Earwax primarily consists dead skin cells shed by the ear canal, from the eardrum outwards.
The moisture content of the ear wax is made up of secretions from Ceruminous and Sebacous glands.
In addition ear wax contains fats and chloesterol as well as hair, dust and debris from the environment. It can also contain elements of any viruses you are suffering from such as hepitites, so clinical cleanliness is vital.
A skin cell takes around a year to shed from the eardrum to the outside world so anything that hinders this progress can cause severe build ups of ear wax in the canal.
Hearing loss occurs when the moist ear wax builds up to fill the ear canal. the narrower the ear and the moister the ear wax, the worse this can be.
If there is a blockage the wax can continue to build up from inside the ear canal and begin to exert presuure on the eardrum causing severe pain and nausea.
Some people have dry ear wax which can be be easy to remove, but not if it is pushed to far in as in this case. You can just see where the wax was before it was pushed!
Soft Ear Wax
Softened ear wax is easier, safer and more comfortable to remove.
This wax is quite dark, meaning it has been in there a while.
Dry Ear Wax
Impacted Ear Wax
Dry or impacted wax is much harder to remove, especially if pushed deeper by cotton buds or the latest craze 'ear twists!'
Wax that is very moist follwing prolonged treatment by one of the more agressive softening products was much easy, safer and comfortably removed by Low Pressure Pulse Irrigtion
Dry old Wax
You can see the imprint of a cotton bud in theis wax where the patient has tried to remove it but ended up pushing it further in. There is a risk of perforating the eardrum or damaging the ear canal - as well as making it much harder to remove the wax
Cotton Bud Damage
Cotton buds are the single biggest problem for causing was to become impacted - which leads to pain, infection and possibly perforated eardrums.
It could be something else...
clear ears may mean some other problem
Let us check your hearing.
Book a free hearing assessment and if you need help, we provide any make or model on the UK market, not just some of them.
If you are unsure or want a second opinion, we can us put your mind at rest by giving genuine and impartial advice based on almost 40 years of combined experience.