Learn more about the foods that lead to increased ear wax production

What causes increased ear wax production?

Earwax is a substance called cerumen, and it’s normal and healthy for your body to produce it. If you didn’t have earwax, your ears would probably be itchy and dry. Earwax even has antibacterial properties, which means your ears are self-cleaning. Earwax is like a filter for your ears, keeping out harmful things like dirt and dust, and trapping them so they don’t go deep inside. That said, some people do experience an excessive buildup of earwax from time to time and it’s believed one of the reasons this happens is diet. Here are some of the foods that cause earwax.

Gluten

Gluten has received a large amount of focus from a range of dietitians over the last ten years for a variety of reasons. Many food items including rice, wheat, barley, and corn—items that many consider healthy—also contain gluten. If you are gluten intolerant then you may already have a sensitivity to these foods, which can cause symptoms including abdominal pain, anemia, anxiety, gas, depression, diarrhea, fatigue, joint pain and skin ailments. Now add the production of excessive earwax to the list.

Thankfully, for most people, well-processed gluten doesn’t harm the body much, but under-processed gluten found in cheap snacks is usually the culprit so choosing gluten-free snacks may benefit some people but it can take some time to hone in on the cause given the long list of symptoms.

Caffeine

Lots of people love to start their day with a big mug of coffee, but for some the caffeine is just too much and can cause digestive distress, anxiety, heart palpitations and trouble sleeping. Most people know if they are sensitive to caffeine and can’t partake. In addition to these symptoms it is also believed that caffeine can trigger excessive production of ear wax. It’s also good to be aware that chocolate and cocoa can cause the same effects in rare cases so if you see a link between caffeine and earwax production in your body do also watch out for chocolate.

Dairy

Dieticians have noted a link between milk and earwax, but mostly for people who are considered lactose intolerant. Most people know if they are sensitive to dairy products, but if you don’t and you’re experiencing lots of earwax buildup and also eat lots of dairy it’s worth experimenting with removing dairy for a few weeks and see what the effects are. Interestingly, for some people, milk alternatives including soy milk and almond milk can also trigger earwax production—if you have this issue it’s best to consult with a dietician to evaluate your diet to find the underlying cause.

An unhealthy diet

For most people the main cause of excessive earwax production is an unhealthy and unbalanced diet. Maintaining a balance of essential nutrients and moderating your intake of snacks can improve your overall health and also should reduce the amount of excessive earwax produced.

So ultimately, it can take a while to determine exactly what causes increased earwax production. There are a number of dietary factors that can trigger excessive earwax production. If your symptoms are not severe then you can experiment with your diet and hopefully make some improvement. If you are experiencing extreme symptoms then see a doctor, or dietician, and seek professional advice. In the meantime clean out your earwax build up with a digital otoscope from ScopeAround—the safest way to remove earwax from your ears.