Earwax: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

Earwax is a common issue faced by many. It is naturally produced by the outer part of the ear canal to protect our ears. Also known as cerumen, earwax is made up of dead skin cells and hair. It is both lubricating and antibacterial. In most cases, the earwax buildup is automatically passed through the ear canal to the outside ear by jaw movements during chewing. From the outer ear, it naturally flakes off.

However, if there is a gradual build-up in your ear, it might block your ear canal and stop the passage of sound waves. This could lead to hearing loss. Moreover, the buildup might also cause many other discomforts.

Earwax buildup usually occurs when you try to clean your ear with things like cotton swabs or bobby pins. By doing this you end up pushing the earwax farther inside your ears. You might also cause injury to the ear in the process.


  • Symptoms of Earwax buildup include –
  • The feeling of fullness inside the ears        
  • The feeling of itchiness inside the ear
  • Ear pain
  • Problems in hearing, which get worse with time
  • Ringing in the ear, also known as tinnitus
  • Discharge or odor from the ear
  • Dizziness

When to consult an ENT specialist immediately

While earwax build up generally does not lead to emergencies. In case of the following symptoms, you should consider seeing a specialist immediately-

  • Earwax is discharging
  • The discharge contains white or greenish pus
  • The discharge is caked on your pillow after sleeping
  • Blood in the discharge
  • Earwax is visibly black

Who is prone to earwax buildup?

Earwax buildup usually occurs in both children and adults who are otherwise healthy. However, the following individuals are more prone to get earwax –

  • Those who use hearing aids, earplugs, or earbuds
  • Have excess ear hair
  • Have certain skin conditions
  • Use things like cotton swabs to clean your ears
  • Elderly people
  • Those who have developmental disabilities
  • Those whose ear canal shape makes the natural wax removal process difficult

Children also produce earwax, but you should not be worried about it unless they show signs like tugging at the ears, putting things into the ears, or complaining of difficulty in hearing. In such cases, consider contacting your child’s healthcare provider at the earliest.


Earwax can be removed by wiping the outside of the ear with a cloth. You may consider using the following solutions to dissolve wax –

  • Mineral oil.
  • Baby oil.
  • Glycerin.
  • Peroxide-based ear drops
  • Saline solution.

In case the condition gets severe, the ENT specialist might recommend the removal of the earwax manually using a cerumen spoon, forceps, or suction device to restore your hearing.

Today, you can consult an experienced ENT specialist online on DocGenie if you are facing any of the above-mentioned symptoms. Book an online doctor consultation as this saves time and is cost-effective. Moreover, it can be done from the comfort of your home.

Also read: 4 Common Ear Infections And Problems That People Face

DocGenie is an online telemedicine platform that provides you with quality healthcare from the comfort of your own space. On DocGenie, you can book an online consultation with highly qualified doctors as well as book lab tests for home collection.