Posted by: Debbie | 2010-08-27

Excessive wax

My son sees anENT every 3-4 mo to remove excessive wax from his ear. The one ear seems to produce more wax than the other ear and I am not in favour of GP''s " washing out"  the wax - I therefor take him to the ENT to have it removed. Why do some people produce excessive wax? In my son''s case, the wax remains too deep in the canal to be safely removed with a cotton bud.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImagezENT Expert

Dear Debbie

Wax is produced in the outer third of the extarnal ear canal, and forms an integral part of the normal functioning of the ear canal. This includes acting as an anti-bacterial agent, preventing the earcanal from drying out, and keeping water out of the canal. Earcanals that lack wax, are problematic, and are prone to drying out, with associated skin problems in tha canal.
The ear canal produces wax at a rate that is unique to the individual patient, as well as the colour that may vary from patient to patient. Wax production is increased in situations where the earcanal is irritated, such as removing the wax, or scratching the canal with a foreign object , such as a cotton bud. The canal can remove wax on its own, by pushing it to the external opening. If the wax is pushed to deep, beyond the external part of the canal, the earcanal is unable to get rid of it, thus requiring manual removal. Having the ENT remove the wax is often the least traumatic, as even removing the wax stimulates further wax production. Patients produce wax at their own unique pace, and hopefully the periods required before removal is necessary may increase for your son. The best advice is to try and reduce the manipulation of the canal to as little as possible.


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