The ear: the right care
The natural cleaning of theexternal auditory canal from these skin flakes happens in two ways.The so-called ceruminous glands (glandulae ceruminosae) secrete lipids and other substances in the ear. This secretion helps to protect the skin of the auditory canal by keeping it lubricated. This also maintains the acid mantle that protects the auditory canal from infection by killing bacteria and fungi. Earwax is then formed from these secretions, together with shed skin flakes and dust particles. The medical term for earwax is cerumen.
The ear also cleans itself by movement. When we speak and eat, for instance, the earwax is constantly pushed by the natural movement of our lower jaw towards the outer ear, thereby supporting the self-cleaning of our ears.
Earwax can vary considerably from person to person – for example, as regards color and amount. The amount of earwax has nothing to do with personal hygiene. Some people – mostly men and old people– produce a lot earwax.When too much earwax is produced or the earwax is no longer properly pushed out of the ear, a plug may form that can impair hearing.
Increased build-up of earwax does not only result from normal ageing processes, but can also be caused by a hearing aid. And if you try to clean your ears with cotton swabs, hair pins or similar utensils, this can cause or worsen increased earwax build-up. The reason: It is indeed possible to remove some of the dead skin particles and earwax, but on the other hand, the earwax is also pushed deeper into the ear so that it hardens and forms a lump. At the same time there is a high risk of injuring the eardrum or the skin of the external auditory canal.
Ear irrigation: a stream of water is used to rinse the ear.
Special instruments that a doctor can use to vacuum the earwax or scrape it from the external auditory canal.
Cerumenolytics are commonly tried out before ear irrigation is carried out. If this does not help, cerumenolytics can also be used to prepare for irrigation.