By:
27-07-2015

Six Kitchen Remedies For Ear Wax

Ear wax is a completely natural secretion that protects the ear from bacteria, yeasts and even insects. It's a mixture of sebum – the oils produced by sebaceous glands to moisturise your skin – and cerumen, a waxy substance produced by glands in the ear canal. It also contains some moisture and dead skin cells. Without ear wax, the skin that lines the ear canal would become red, cracked, dry and painful. However, you can have too much of a good thing - when ear wax builds up too much it can cause symptoms. If wax blocks the canal then your hearing will be impaired, because you are effectively wearing ear plugs. If ear wax presses against the ear drum it can cause discomfort or even tinnitus – the sensation of noise coming from within the ear. Rarely wax can cause a cough by irritating the nerve to the ear canal, which triggers the cough reflex. Some people think wax can also cause vertigo (a false sensation of movement or rotation) but this is unproven.

What to do if you have excess ear wax

If you have any of these symptoms your first port of call should be your doctor. It's obviously impossible to look inside your own ear, but the doctor can easily and painlessly do this with an instrument called an otoscope. Deafness in just one ear is often due to excess ear wax but there are also serious causes for this symptom such as an acoustic neuroma, which is a tumour of the nerve to the ear. Common causes of ear discomfort include otitis externa, which is infection of the ear canal. It can be due to bacteria or yeasts and is treated with drops containing steroid and an antibiotic or an anti-fungal drug. Another cause is otitis media which is bacterial infection of the eardrum and usually needs oral antibiotic drugs. It is difficult for the patient with earache to differentiate these possible causes, hence the importance of consulting a medical professional.

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