Cerumen impaction is usually caused by inability of the ear to naturally clear itself, and unsuccessful attempts to remove earwax. By inserting a cotton-tipped swab into your ear, you actually jam the more solid part of the earwax deeper into your ear. Your ear has a harder time trying to get rid of this harder, bulkier wax, and the impaction or blockage begins.
Factors that contribute to cerumen impaction include:
- Trying to remove cerumen with a cotton-tipped swab
- Putting objects into your ears that may push the cerumen in the ear canal deeper
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.
The following factors increase your chance of developing cerumen impaction:
- Individuals who obsessively try to clean their ears and try to remove the wax
- A twisted, narrow, or complicated ear canal
- Ears that overproduce cerumen
- Age: affects the elderly and causes hearing loss
- Mental retardation
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