Earwax is produced by glands in the ear canal. It protects the skin of the human ear canal, assists in cleaning and lubrication, and also provides some protection from bacteria, fungi, insects, and water. Normally, the wax dries up and falls out of the ear, along with any trapped dust or debris. Everyone makes ear wax, but the amount and type are genetically determined just like hair color or height. Smaller or oddly shaped ear canals, as well as excessive ear wax may make it difficult for the naturally occurring wax to get out of the canal and lead to wax impactions.
Blockages in the ear canal, called impactions, occur when the ear wax gets pushed too far into the ear canal. This can occur when q-tips or other objects are used to remove outer wax and push the rest of the wax deeper into the ear canal. Impactions affect about 6% of people and are the most common of ear problems.
Symptoms of an Ear Wax Impaction Include:
Plugged or fullness sensation
Ringing in the ear
Itching or drainage from the ear canal
EAR PAIN CAUSES & SOLUTIONS
The ear shares nerves with other nearby structures including the face, eyes, jaw, teeth, and upper neck. Pain that feels as if it is in the ear may actually originate in another structure in the head or neck. This is called referred ear pain and is more common in older adults. Can wisdom teeth cause ear pain? Wisdom teeth causing ear pain is not uncommon as the teeth may cause some pressure to the ear.
Other causes of ear pain include:
Diseases of the joints and muscles of the jaw (temporomandibular dysfunction or TM disorders)
Neck or cervical spine problems
Dental problems, such as impacted third molars (wisdom teeth) or dental infections in the upper back teeth
Other ear, nose, and throat infections. Examples are:
Infection of the throat/pharyngitis
Infection of the voice box/laryngitis
Salivary gland infection
Inflammation of the blood vessels in the temple (giant cell arteritis)
Nerve problems such as trigeminal neuralgia, which affects the nerves of the face
Cancer of the head or neck
At Fox Medical Centers we are glad to help you and treat any medical concerns you may have!