Symptoms and causes

What is it?

Just as saliva fulfills a function in the mouth, ear wax has a function in the ear canal. The function of ear wax is to clean the ear canal and to remove any impurities.

Many people like to stick cotton swabs in their ears. While this is not in itself harmful, it can cause imflammation of the ear canal. It can also cause the ear wax to clump together and form a hard ball. For this reason, try not to overuse cotton swabs in order to avoid other complications.

Diagnosis and treatment

Some people produce a lot of ear wax, which can lead to an uncomfortable feeling. You could ask your GP to remove it. This is usually done with an ear wash. If, for whatever reason, this is difficult to do, we are able to suction out the ear wax (cerumen).

If you have regular problems, it may be useful to get a little ear scoop from your pharmacist. You could use this little scoop every so often to remove ear wax and to avoid using cotton swabs.

Treatment centres and specialisations

Ear, nose, and throat diseases

Latest publication date: 17/01/2022
Supervising author: Dr Vermeiren Judith