Can You Remove Impacted Ear Wax At Home?
In order to fully answer this question, we must first find out what ear wax is and how it becomes impacted, and then find out about impacted ear wax removal home remedies and the best wax to remove impacted ear wax.
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What Is Ear Wax And Where Does It Come From?
Ear wax is actually made by your own ear. It is a mixture of a heavy, acidic oil called cerumen, which is produced in the ceruminous glands that line the outer two thirds of the ear canal, shed skin cells and sweat. Ear wax serves to protect the delicate, thin surface of the ear canal by keeping it moisturised, as well as keeping the ear clean by catching dust, pollen, bacteria and small insects and stopping them from growing (or laying eggs) in your ear. Normally a combination of the jaw squeezing the ear canal from the outside, and the natural skin migration process carries wax out of the ear, bringing with it the aforementioned dust, pollen, bacteria and small insects.
How Does Ear Wax Become Impacted?
They say "the smallest thing you should put in your ear is your elbow", and they're not wrong! Most of the time, ear wax will work its way out of your ear on its own. However, some people have to put things in their ears. For example, they might live by a noisy street or have noisy neighbours, so must wear ear plugs to sleep at night; they might work in a very noisy environment and have to wear ear plugs to protect their hearing from industrial noise; or they might have a hearing loss and need to wear hearing aids to be able to hear clearly. Each time you put something in your ear beyond the entrance of the canal, it pushes ear wax back in that otherwise would have made its way out. If you keep doing this, the wax piles up as it's alternately pushed outwards from the inside, and then back inwards from the outside. Over time, the wax gets compressed and dries out, and can get stuck to the wall of the ear canal like hardened glue. This situation is made even worse when people insert cotton buds into their ears, as the shape of the cotton bud enables wax to be pushed into parts of the ear drum where it doesn't belong. Although some wax will inevitably rub off on the cotton bud tip, most of it gets pushed further into the ear canal, often getting stuck beyond the narrow point of the ear canal or pushed against the ear drum. The more this is done, the more compressed and dried out the wax becomes, eventually getting stuck deep inside the ear canal. This is impacted ear wax.