• Español
  • Join Now
Make an appointment:
Specialty
(i.e. Dermatologists)
Location

Why do I have so much ear wax?

I seem to have a ton of ear wax. Way more than other people. Always having to clean out my ears and have the doctor suck out chunks of wax. How can I make my body produce less ear wax or is there a condition that makes someone like me produce so much wax?
As you probably are already aware, cerumen (more commonly referred to as "ear wax") is a normal physiologic substance within the ear canal, and is actually necessary for a healthy and well functioning ear. It is only made in the outer 1/3 of the ear canal where there are both apocrine (modified sweat glands), and sebaceous glands. They secrete both liquid and fatty substances (fatty chains) that mix with the shedding keratinizing squamous epithelium to make cerumen. Since cerumen is only made in the outer third of the ear canal, physiologically it does not cause any problems with hearing, rather it actually has some antibiotic properties, and helps prevent foreign bodies from going deeper into the ear and damaging the tympanic membrane (ear drum). Thus it is only when the wax is pushed deeper into the ear canal that it causes problems. This is the reason that ENT physicians are constantly recommending to their patients NOT to use Q-tips to clean their ears. More often than not, some of the wax is pushed deeper into the ear canal and this can eventually build up on the tympanic membrane and cause pain, and hearing problems. There is likely nothing that you are doing that is making you produce more cerumen then the average person (if you even are). Some people just produce more than others. Different ENT physicians may suggest different maintenance therapies (such as a drop of mineral oil every other day or so) to help prevent the drying of the ear wax, and thereby helping it come out normally easier. I would recommend that if you are not already being followed by an ENT, that you make an appointment and have your ears checked out, and get their opinion on your situation. Best of luck.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under ZocDoc’s Terms of Service.

Nearby Ear, Nose & Throat Doctors

  • Dr. James Rockwell
    Dr. James Rockwell MD
    Ear, Nose & Throat Doctor
    Avg Rec:
    801 Broadway
    Seattle, WA 98122
  • Dr. Ludwig Allegra
    Dr. Ludwig Allegra MD
    Ear, Nose & Throat Doctor
    Avg Rec:
    3100 Carillon Point
    Kirkland, WA 98033
  • Dr. Nilesh Shah
    Dr. Nilesh Shah MD
    Ear, Nose & Throat Doctor
    Avg Rec:
    1536 N. 115th St.
    Seattle, WA 98133

Other Ear, Nose & Throat Doctors

  • Dr. John Austin
    Dr. John Austin MD
    Ear, Nose & Throat Doctor
    Avg Rec:
    7200 Wyoming Springs Drive
    Round Rock, TX 78681
  • Dr. Matthew Dahl
    Dr. Matthew Dahl MD
    Ear, Nose & Throat Doctor
    Avg Rec:
    22 S 900 E
    Salt Lake City, UT 84102
  • Dr. John Bennett
    Dr. John Bennett MD
    Ear, Nose & Throat Doctor
    Avg Rec:
    22 S 900 E
    Salt Lake City, UT 84102