If you've ever had the displeasure of finding flaky stuff in your ear, you're not alone. Even though it's icky, earwax is actually a totally normal and healthy part of your ear's ecosystem!
Earwax is produced by glands in your ear canal. It's made up of dead skin cells, hair, and oily secretions from those glands. All of that gross stuff actually serves a purpose: it helps to clean and lubricate your ear canal, and protects your ears from bacteria, dust, and other potential irritants.
Normally, earwax works its way from the inside of your ear canal to the outside, where it eventually falls out or gets washed away. But sometimes, earwax can build up and become too hard for your ear to get rid of on its own.
When that happens, you might start to feel like there's something stuck in your ear. Your ear may feel itchy or full. You might also have trouble hearing as well as you normally do.
If you're dealing with an earwax buildup, there are a few things you can do to try to get rid of it. Earwax removal kits are available at most pharmacies. Or you could try irrigating your ear with warm water using a rubber-bulb syringe. (Just be careful not to insert the tip of the syringe too far into your ear canal.)
If you've ever had the experience of finding what looks like dandruff in your ear, you may have been alarmed. But don't worry, it's probably just earwax.
If those home remedies don't do the trick, or if you're having trouble removing the earwax on your own, you may need to see a doctor. A healthcare provider can carefully remove the earwax using special instruments or suction.
Earwax is a normal, healthy substance produced by our bodies to protect our ears. It's made up of shed skin cells, hair, and oils secreted by tiny glands in the ear canal. Usually, earwax works its way out of the ear on its own or is flushed out when we wash our hair.
Sometimes, earwax can build up and become hard, making it more difficult for it to work its way out. When this happens, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus, which can cause infections. It can also cause blockages that make hearing difficult.
If you think you have too much earwax, you can try using an over-the-counter earwax removal kit. These kits typically come with a gentle liquid solution that you squirt into your ear canal, along with a soft tool to help remove the wax.
If you're not comfortable using one of these kits, or if they don't seem to be working, you can see your doctor or a certified audiologist, who can safely remove the earwax.