Ear Wax Removal Resources

Why Do Some People Produce More Ear Wax Than Others?

Earwax (technically called cerumen) is a natural self-cleansing agent, moving outward from your ears towards other parts of the body over time. However, when something interrupts this process such as plugs or cotton swabs enter the equation it can build up and become trapped inside. This accumulation could be dangerously impacted.

Earwax tends to be wet, amber orange or light brown in color and sticky; its type and consistency depend on genetics just like eye color does.

Dirty Environment

That sticky yellowish goo that drips out of your ears is more than just gross — it is part of your body’s natural defence system! Earwax (cerumen) keeps ears clean and protected from germs while helping maintain proper hearing hygiene and keeping hearing loss to a minimum. But too much earwax may lead to impacted ears resulting in hearing loss or ruptured eardrums if left in too long!

Earwax is produced by glands located within your outer ear canal, consisting of oily secretions from these glands mixed with dead skin cells and dirt from your environment. When too much earwax builds up and causes blockage, symptoms may include ringing in the ears, pain or fullness in one or both ears, an itching sensation in one or both ear canals and even complete obstruction to hearing.

Dr. Zhao notes that being exposed to dirt can encourage your ear canal’s glands to produce more earwax as a means of maintaining overall ear health, producing extra earwax production as a protective mechanism against cold temperatures and providing an additional protective barrier from them. Cold temperatures also harden earwax deposits in your canal and lead to painful buildup of painful, itchy buildups of wax that block itching canals.

Many people improperly clean their ears by using cotton swabs and other cotton-tipped devices to attempt to remove earwax from the canal, only for it to get further down into it. Unfortunately, using such methods causes more wax to accumulate within your ear canal causing further blockages; additionally using such items actually encourages your body to produce even more earwax as a compensation mechanism!

Your body has its own natural way of eliminating excess earwax accumulation; simply let nature do its thing by migrating it out of the ear canal through showering with warm water over (but not into) your ears on a regular basis to soften and loosen any excess build-up. Furthermore, hearing healthcare providers can monitor ear health and remove excess wax if required.

Cold Weather

Earwax (cerumen) is a healthy natural substance that works to clean and protect the ear canal. Unfortunately, some individuals produce more earwax than necessary which may lead to problems like “impacted earwax”, wherein there is difficulty moving out the wax from their canal.

Excess earwax may result from many causes, including genetics, overcleaning with cotton swabs or certain medical conditions. One of the primary culprits of excess earwax production is chronic or recurring ear infections which increase pressure inside your ear canal and cause your body to produce more earwax as an attempt to ease that pressure.

Earplugs or earbuds can also contribute to an accumulation of earwax buildup by blocking off the ear canal and preventing it from flowing out naturally, eventually leading to painful and itchy buildup as well as hearing loss.

Other causes of earwax buildup may include having narrow ear canals, an inherited tendency to produce excess earwax and skin conditions like dermatitis. Age can also play an influential role in both its production as well as its consistency; as you age it often hardens and darkens further.

Although your body produces its own amount of earwax, there are certain steps you can take to help manage its production and ensure it can leave your ears effectively. These include preventing buildup and encouraging proper expulsion from your ears. Avoid using earbuds or earplugs during cold weather; regularly clean your ears using a cloth or showerhead; and don’t attempt to remove earwax yourself as this could cause the ear canal to overproduce wax and cause blockages in the ear canal. If you are experiencing symptoms of excessive earwax build-up, such as hearing loss, ringing in the ears or itching, make an appointment with your physician immediately to have your ears evaluated and determined what may be causing it – possibly an earwax blockage or something more serious like infection; either way they will prescribe suitable treatment solutions.

Ear Plugs/Earbuds

Earwax (cerumen) is a natural substance produced by your ears to clean, lubricate and protect them. When left in its place for too long it can create serious health risks including infections, physical discomfort and hearing loss.

Before attempting to remove earwax on your own, consult a medical provider or use a softening agent such as oil of wintergreen for best results. Doing it alone could result in pushing more wax back in and potentially leading to an impacted build-up.

When wearing earplugs, it’s essential that they fit well and comfortably. If they are too small or don’t properly seal the ear canal, pressure buildup may lead to increased wax production in your ear canal and cause pain and pressure buildup in your ears. Molded to your ear canal earplugs offer greater comfort while offering maximum noise and moisture protection; popular choices include ACS earplugs, Mack’s reusable silicone earplugs or the QuietOn 3 sleep earplugs.

One reason you may have excessive earwax production is if you suffer from frequent ear infections or tubes. Frequent infections put pressure on your ears which triggers more production of earwax to protect the eardrum from infections.

If your family history includes an increased tendency for earwax buildup, this may make your risk genetic. Aging adults tend to have more earwax buildup as their ear canals begin to sag with age – the more earwax there is to remove, the harder it will be. Avoid cotton swabs and other ineffective earwax removal techniques in order to reduce over-production of earwax. Instead, opt for gentle methods like an ear irrigation kit which employs a bulb-type syringe with warm water from over the counter sources for flushing your ear canal. It is also wise to visit your physician regularly so they can safely help remove any extra buildup of earwax before it accumulates further without damaging your eardrum.


Ear wax is an unpleasant but essential body secretion, serving multiple functions including keeping ears moist and providing immunity against bacteria and viruses. Unfortunately, excessive earwax production may lead to blockages or irritation in some individuals – excess production could even cause cerumen accumulation around ear drums! Luckily, most people produce just the appropriate amount of earwax for themselves and tend to dispose of it appropriately.

Earwax is an amalgamation of sweat and the fatty byproducts from our sebaceous glands, producing an oily and sticky material which serves to carry away dead skin cells from our ear canal. Furthermore, it traps airborne allergens to prevent further irritation of our ears. While most earwax production comes from ceruminous glands within our ear canals (ceruminous glands), some comes from sweat glands as well and the final product typically falls somewhere in between honey-brown and dry or flaky depending on our genetics which influences its smell even further.

Recent research from Nagasaki University discovered that our type of earwax production can be determined by just one variant of our ABCC11 gene, which codes for a protein that transports molecules across cell membranes. Researchers determined that even one nucleotide change affects whether we produce wet or dry earwax production – they compared this variation with DNA samples from 33 ethnic groups across the globe and found very closely matching genotypes for producing either wet or dry wax production.

Researchers suggest that the “dry” A allele for ABCC11 gene first emerged among prehistoric populations in Northeast Eurasia and eventually spread throughout East Asia as an adaptive strategy, possibly due to lower bodily secretions in cold climates. Furthermore, this gene variant produces proliferative epithelium within our mammary glands, suggesting these two functions may have co-evolved together to adapt to our environment.

About the Author

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Ben Horlock Audiologist

Ben Horlock RHAD MHSAA, is an accomplished audiologist deeply committed to delivering remarkable audiological services.

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