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Earwax

Earwax Overview

Earwax (also spelled ear wax), medically referred to as cerumen, is produced by glands in the outer ear canal. Its purpose is to trap dust and other small particles and prevent them from reaching and potentially damaging the eardrum. Earwax may also prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi in the ear canal.

Earwax Causes

Blockage, or impaction of earwax occurs when the wax gets pushed deep within the ear canal. Earwax blockage affects about 6% of people and is the most common ear problem doctors see.

  • The most common cause of this is the use of Q-tips in the ear canal (and other objects such as bobby pins and rolled napkin corners), which pushes the wax deeper into the ear canal.
  • Hearing aid and earplug users are also more prone to earwax blockage.

Picture of the ear and earwax build-up

Picture of the ear and earwax build-up

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/17/2013
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Earwax - Treatment

What has effectively removed your earwax buildup?




Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Cerumen Impaction Removal »

Removal of cerumen (wax) from the ear is a significant amount of the workload of an otolaryngologist and is, therefore, an essential skill to master.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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