Can Ear Wax Cause Pain?

Ear pain

Yes, earwax (cerumen) can sometimes cause pain or discomfort when it becomes impacted or obstructs the ear canal. Earwax is a natural substance produced by the ear to help keep the ear canal clean and protect it from debris and infection. In most cases, the body naturally expels excess earwax, and it does not cause any problems. However, in some situations, earwax can build up and lead to symptoms such as pain and discomfort.

Common symptoms of impacted earwax include:

  • Ear Pain: The accumulation of earwax can press against the sensitive skin of the ear canal, causing pain or a sensation of fullness in the ear.
  • Reduced Hearing: A significant buildup of earwax can partially or completely block the ear canal, leading to reduced hearing or a sensation of hearing loss.
  • Tinnitus: Impacted earwax may cause ringing or buzzing sounds in the affected ear, a condition known as tinnitus.
  • Vertigo or Dizziness: In some cases, earwax impaction can affect the balance system and lead to feelings of dizziness or vertigo.
  • Coughing: Sometimes, the stimulation of the ear canal by earwax can trigger a cough reflex.

It’s essential to address impacted earwax properly to alleviate symptoms and prevent complications. Attempting to remove earwax at home with cotton swabs or other objects is not recommended, as it can push the wax further into the ear and potentially damage the ear canal or eardrum. If you are experiencing ear pain or other symptoms associated with earwax impaction, it’s best to seek medical attention from a healthcare provider or an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist. They can assess the situation and recommend appropriate and safe methods for removing the earwax.

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