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What Causes Ear Wax Build Up?

Ear wax will naturally work its way out of your ear through the movement of the jaw, with actions such as talking and chewing. However, some people produce more ear wax than others; when this happens, an excess or even blockage can occur in the ear leading to some irritation and sometimes painful symptoms.1

Other causes of ear wax build up include attempting to clean the ear with cotton swabs or a finger. Indeed, many people don’t realise that the shape of the ear canal makes it difficult to manually clean and inserting a foreign object into the ear is not recommended as it can push the wax further into the ear causing blockage and inner ear damage.

Likewise, you are also more likely to experience excess ear wax if you regularly use hearing aids or headphones.

SYMPTOMS OF ear infections?2

If you experience any of the below symptoms, the ear could be infected so see your doctor immediately:

  • Ear pain
  • Discharge from the ear
  • Fever
  • Continued hearing loss

1. Poulton S. et al. AFP. Ear wax management. 2015. 44(10):731-734. [Accessed December 2019].
2. Mayo Clinic. Ear infection (middle ear). 2019. [Accessed December 2019]. "".