ZocdocAnswersCan too much ear wax cause health problems?

Question

Can too much ear wax cause health problems?

My ears are too waxy! I clean them everyday, but there's always a bunch of wax on the q-tip when I do. Could this harm my ears? I don't have any hearing difficulty.

Answer

The biggest problem that can occur with ear wax build up is impaction. This is where the ear wax gets hard and stuck back in the ear canal. This causes pain (sometimes) and more commonly a bit of hearing loss. People that have ear wax impaction usually complain of having a full ear that they can't hear out of well. Interestingly, people that use q-tips daily are sometimes more likely to get ear wax impaction. This is because while you remove the wax from your ears, some of it is getting pressed into the back half of the canal. This is why we generally don't advise the use of q-tips. With that said, if you have wax dripping out of your ear, it is sometimes nice to at least get rid of the external wax. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. Most primary care doctors are very skilled at ear wax removal either with a plastic scoop known as a curette or with a water pick. Having this done regularly can help prevent impaction and insure that your ears are getting cleaned out safely. In addition, your doctor can give you some advice on how to best clean your ears at home.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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