The connection between earwax and food
The connection between earwax and food: Did you know that some foods might contribute to earwax production?
Gluten is a protein found primarily in wheat, barley, and rye products. Excessive gluten consumption can result in increased earwax production.
Milk sugar (lactose) in dairy products might cause increased earwax production, especially if you are lactose sensitive.
Ear wax production can be exacerbated by a diet high in sodium or salt. High blood pressure can also be caused by salt or sodium, which reduces blood flow to the ears and increases earwax production.
Caffeine is generally found in coffee, tea, and energy drinks and is high on the list of foods that cause greater earwax production.
Sugar contains glucose, which can cause an increase in earwax in the ear canal. Diabetes patients also have a 30% increased risk of hearing issues.
Soy is a legume frequently used as a meat or dairy alternative. Too much soy or soy products (tofu, soy nuts, soy sauce) can increase earwax production.
Never put anything in your ears to remove earwax. Inserting small sharp items into your ears is harmful and can aggravate accumulation problems by pushing the wax deeper into your ear canal.
What your earwax can tell you about your health
Did you know that your earwax might reveal much about your overall health? Here are some earwax facts you may not be aware of!
Earwax is typically yellow/orange or brown. If your earwax appears yellow/green, this could indicate infection. Therefore consult your doctor.
Scaly earwax may indicate dermatitis, which is treatable with over-the-counter medicines.
Earwax should not have an odour. If it happens, it could be a sign of an infection or an eardrum tear. Consult your doctor for guidance.
Earwax that is watery is frequent after a sweaty workout; if it comes out of your ears at other times, it could be due to ear infections caused by swimming or other water-related activities. The best course of action is to make an appointment with your physician.
If you can feel earwax, it could signify that your ear canal is filled with extra wax and has to be cleaned out by a professional.
An odd itch in your ear is nothing to be concerned about, but if the irritation persists, you may have an ear infection. Something as easy as a new shampoo or soap could be the source of the itch.
We produce more dark earwax as we get older. Consult your doctor if you are concerned because your earwax is generally lighter.
Eight lifestyle practises that may influence earwax production.
Did you know that some components of your lifestyle can contribute to earwax? Genetic factors may also be involved. Avoiding the creation of earwax can be prevented by being aware of the following warning signs.
Alcohol causes the ear to absorb more fluid and increase blood flow, leading to ear infections, tinnitus, and earwax overproduction.
Tobacco use – the harmful compounds in cigarette smoke (formaldehyde, benzene, arsenic, vinyl chloride, ammonia, and hydrogen cyanide) can impair hearing and harm your hair cells.
Smoking also causes middle ear pressure to build up, leading to increased earwax discharge, hearing loss, and infection.
Headphones/Earplugs: If you routinely wear headphones, earwax can accumulate over time since they inhibit regular evacuation of earwax from the ear canals, resulting in obstruction.
Cleaning: Using cotton swabs, ear candles, or other utensils can prevent earwax from leaving the ear naturally. Earwax can sometimes get into the ear canal and become trapped, pressing against the eardrum.
Environment: If you live or work in a dusty environment, your earwax may hold more dirt particles, leading to higher production.
Family history – genetics can also influence ear health. If your parents had earwax issues, chances are you do as well!
Anatomy – narrow, tiny, or hairy ear canals can cause earwax buildup and blockage since it is more difficult for the wax to come out naturally.
Age – Our ears' self-cleaning system becomes less effective as we age. Earwax begins to dry out, increasing the likelihood of it becoming compacted and trapped in the ear canal.
Earwax causes, symptoms, and treatment
Ears require just as much attention as any other feature of the body. Trevor Chapman, the audiologist at angle-EAR Hearing in Great Shelford, discusses everything there is to know about earwax and ear care.
What exactly is earwax?
Earwax is a naturally occurring yellowish-brown material found in the ear. Earwax does not cause issues in many people. However, earwax buildup can cause a variety of symptoms.
What causes the body to manufacture earwax?
Although the exact function of earwax is unknown, it is assumed to contribute to ear cleanliness, hygiene, and overall health by trapping debris and lubricating the ear canal.
What causes earwax to settle?
The amount of earwax secreted varies widely between individuals; one ear may produce more earwax than the other. For certain people, earwax can build up in the ear canal for a variety of reasons, including:
The lining of the ear canal is no longer shed correctly, resulting in earwax buildup.
Chronic ear infections, hereditary crookedness, or narrowing deep in the ear canal
Using cotton swabs or wearing hearing aids, earphones, and earplugs regularly can drive earwax deep into the ear.
Tiny hairs (cilia) in the ear canal become entangled in earwax and prevent it from exiting the ear.
Earwax production is increased due to hyperactive glands in the skin lining the ear canal.
Hard and dry earwax, more common in elderly persons, becomes lodged in the ear canal and cannot be removed.
How can I know if I have earwax?
When earwax builds up, it can produce a variety of symptoms, including:
Ear pain and the sensation of having a “clogged ear.”
Hearing loss occurs when earwax prevents sound waves from efficiently reaching the eardrum.
Internal sounds such as chewing, breathing, heartbeat, and even one's speech are no longer able to leave the ear and are therefore perceived considerably louder in the head.
Tinnitus is a ringing/whistling/humming sound only you can hear.
Vertigo is vertigo caused by increased air pressure produced by earwax buildup.
Whistling hearing aid: noises enhanced by the hearing aid are reflected into the ear due to earwax buildup.
Itching/irritation: When you move your jaw, infiltrating earwax, particularly dry earwax, scrapes on the side of the ear canal.
How can I get rid of earwax in my ears?
There are numerous methods for safely and gently removing earwax and cleaning the ear, depending on the consistency of the earwax. Symptoms are often eased shortly after the earwax is removed.
A competent specialist should remove earwax from deep within the ear canal. Never putting anything in your ear canal will assist.
Earwax is removed with a low-pressure suction machine and a fine, sterile probe using video otoscopy equipment.
Irrigation of the ears
This approach, which replaces the traditional ear syringing method, employs an irrigation device to guide water into the ear rather than squirting it directly. This allows the water to drain away the earwax safely.
Extrusion by hand
The audiologist removes the earwax with micro-instruments utilising state-of-the-art video otoscopy technology that directly visualises the earwax.
If you detect changes in your hearing, you should have it checked by a skilled audiologist to see if the problem is caused by earwax or other ear ailments.