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The Science behind Ear Wax: Put the cotton bud down!

Ear wax is pretty gunky but do you know what it is made up of? No? Let me tell you.

- Dead cells

- Foreign material like dust

- Hair

- Cerumen (natural wax produced by glands in the ear)

This cerumen forms a protective coating of the skin in the ear canal and how much ear wax is made varies from person to person. Ears do actually clean themselves, and attempting to clean them with cotton wool buds can push the wax further into the ear, which could lead to an infection or challenged hearing. So, put the cotton bud down.

Some signs that you need to seek treatment for your earwax include:

- Fullness/pressure sensation in the ear

- Your hearing has been affected

- You have a ringing (tinnitus) sound in the ears

Tinnitus is the name for hearing noises that do not come from an outside source. These sounds could be whooshing, ringing, buzzing, or throbbing. This may occur in one or both ears and may come and go, or be present all the time.

Further information about tinnitus can be found here: Tinnitus - NHS (

If you have concerns about your hearing, or about wax build up then it is important to seek professional medical advice.

Ear syringing is a method of removing unwanted ear wax. However, at Raleigh Park Clinic we use Microsuction (essentially a miniature vacuum cleaner for your ears). It involves a small suction probe and tube to remove excess wax from the ear. The process is generally painless, but it can be a little noisy.

Do you have problems with ear wax? Not hearing as well as you once did? Have ringing sounds in the ears? Feel like there is a blockage in your ear? Are other people noticing they are repeating themselves to you more?

Then it may be a good id-ear (pardon the pun) to have your ears looked at by our friendly Audiologist.


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