Why so waxy?
October 7, 2009 8:44 AM Subscribe
My right ear has been extra waxy for the past few years. Is there something wrong with it? How can I better clean it, since I know I'm not supposed to use Q-tips?
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (25 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I am a 27 year old caucasian woman. I used Q-tips every day of my life after showering and never had an ear wax problem until five years ago.
I woke up one morning with poor balance and some pain in my right ear. Several people at work had recently had ear infections, so I thought that was my problem. I went to the doctor, and my left ear looked fine, but he couldn't even see into my right ear to see if it was infected because it was plugged with wax. I used wax softening drops for a couple days at home, then went back to the doctor where he used a syringe of water to force out a cylinder of orange/brown wax about the size of a new pencil eraser. My ear felt awesome after that, and no, it was not infected.
The doctor recommended against using Q-tips at all, because he said they were forcing wax back into my ears, so I stopped using them for a few months. Eventually, my ear started feeling kind of sticky and waxy, so I started (and continue) to use them just a couple times a week.
Ever since that day, my right ear has produced much more, darker-colored wax than it ever had. Sometimes - but not every time - when I clean my right ear I'll pull out chunks of sticky, orange or brownish wax. I never experienced anything like this before my ear was "unplugged" five years ago. My left ear doesn’t produce this amount of wax.
Is this just a normal change in life that happened to coincide with my medical ear cleaning? Or was something done that day that's caused me to produce more wax ever since? Is there anything I can do to reduce the amount of wax my ears produce, or a better way to clean it out besides an occasional Q-tipping? (I've tried drops and a bulb of water, but haven't had good results.)
By the way, I've had doctors look in my ears since then, and nobody's commented on excessive wax or blockage.
Side note that is probably relevant: I vaguely remember my father, with whom I have no contact (and do not wish to), had ear wax issues as well. He was hard of hearing, due in part to a build-up of wax, and periodically went to the doctor to have his ears vacuumed with a small tube (I went with him once when I was very young). Is excessive ear wax hereditary?