Wax is produced in the ears to keep them clean and free of germs. It usually comes out of the ears harmlessly, but sometimes it can build up and clog the ears.
Earwax buildup is a common problem that can often be treated with over-the-counter eye drops, but in some cases, it becomes severe enough that it may require medical attention.
What Is Earwax Buildup?
Earwax is produced by the ear gland in the ear canal, infact, Scientists still don’t know why earwax forms, it traps dirt and other particles, preventing them from entering the eardrum to prevent infections.
Usually, earwax dries and falls out of the ear along with any trapped dirt and debris.
Everyone develops earwax, but the amount and type of earwax is genetically determined.
If the ear canal is small or irregularly shaped, the wax produced within the ear canal may leak out on its own, which can result in wax contamination, this earwax condition is known as wax buildup.
How Earwax Buildup Can Lead To Memory Loss?
Earwax is often considered a common condition that can be easily removed from the ear, but this is not so in older adults.
This can clog in the ear canal of older adults if left unchecked or untreated for a very long time.
It is most advisable for older adults ear canal to be checked regularly or it may result in some medical complications such as hearing loss.
When an adult ear canal is clogged with earwax or completely blocked by it, it may lead to a condition known as a slippery slope, which can lead to hearing loss or even cognitive decline.
Cognitive decline or gradual loss of thinking ability is associated with age, so when this condition in associated with earwax buildup and dementia (a condition which is also related to old age except in conditions where it is triggered by injuries, diseases, and others) are found in, mostly older adults, it may result to memory loss.
The mechanism behind this is simple, when there is hearing loss, such a person is no longer retaining information or building memory as a result of earwax buildup in the ear canal, this may result in memory loss, a condition that is peculiar to older adults.
The buildup of wax in the ear canal may not be felt until the condition becomes irritating and causes itching, pain, or infection.
To avoid conditions that may lead to cases like this, there is a need for the removal of the earwax from the ear canal.
Simple earwax removal can be done by eye drops, but in a complicated situation when there is long time clog of the wax in the canal, doctors may recommend some solvent such as (docusate sodium, hydrogen peroxide, glycerine, and mineral oil) can help soften the wax before it is removed.
However, these solvents can not be used for long periods of time as they can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions in the ear canal.
It is not advisable to remove earwax plugs at home using cotton swabs, pens, pencils, or other pointed objects. This often forces earwax deeper into the ear canal and can damage the eardrum.
Some people may need to see a doctor regularly to clean their ears if the ear canal is narrow, their earwax is sticky or thick or they have chronic skin problems in their ear canals. Using ear candles to clean your ears is neither effective nor safe.
To reduce cognitive decline in older adults, it is imperative to clean their ear canal regularly as this may increase their risk of developing memory loss when the canal that is responsible for hearing is blocked by earwax, this will reduce their ability to hear information, memorize information and retain information and may thereby lead to memory loss.