Older children or adolescents who try to remove earwax themselves with hair pins or similar objects run the risk of perforating the eardrum or damaging the fragile skin covering the ear canal, causing bleeding and the risk of infection.
Although earwax, produced by glands in the outer ear canal, normally works its way out of the ear, sometimes excessive amounts build-up and harden in the outer ear canal, gradually impairing hearing.
In children younger than one year, cerumen impaction is sometimes discovered during a routine check-up when the doctor finds that the earwax is blocking his or her view of the eardrum.
Less common causes of cerumen impaction include overproduction of earwax by the glands in the ear canal or an abnormally narrow ear canal that tends to trap the wax.
Cerumen impaction refers to the buildup of layers of earwax within the ear canal to the point of blocking the canal and putting pressure on the eardrum.