Woman suffering from earwax blockage applying ear drops herself

Don’t neglect cleaning your ears. Whenever you say that, you inescapably use your “parent voice”. Perhaps you even remember getting that advice as a child. As you get wrapped up in past nostalgia, that kind of memory can take you back to simpler times.

But that advice can be rather helpful. Out-of-control earwax buildup can cause a significant number of issues, particularly for your hearing. And on top of that, earwax can solidify inside your ear and become really difficult to clean. In a nutshell, the clearer you keep your ears, the better off you’ll be.

Excessive earwax? Eww!

Earwax is, well, kind of gross. And we’re not going to attempt to change your mind about that. But earwax does have a purpose. Earwax is manufactured by glands in your ears and is then pushed out when you chew in order to keep your ears free of dirt and dust.

So your ears will remain clean and healthy when they generate the right amount of earwax. It may seem strange, but earwax doesn’t indicate poor hygiene.

An excessive amount of earwax is where the trouble starts. And, naturally, it can sometimes be a bit challenging to tell when a healthy amount of earwax begins to outweigh its usefulness (literally).

What does accumulated earwax do?

So, what happens as a consequence of excess earwax? Earwax that gets out of hand and, over time, accumulates, can cause a number of problems. Those problems include:

  • Tinnitus: When you hear buzzing and ringing that isn’t actually there, you’re usually suffering from a condition called tinnitus. Earwax accumulation can cause tinnitus symptoms to worsen or to emerge.
  • Infection: Infections can be the outcome of excessive earwax. If fluid accumulates, it can become trapped behind plugged earwax.
  • Earache: One of the most common signs of accumulated earwax is an earache. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt that bad, and other times it can hurt a lot. This normally occurs when earwax is causing pressure in places where it shouldn’t be.
  • Dizziness: Your ability to maintain balance depends greatly on your inner ear. So when accumulated ear wax causes your inner ear to get out of whack, your balance can be affected, causing you to feel dizzy.

These are only a few. Neglected earwax can trigger painful headaches. If you wear hearing aids, excess earwax can interfere with them. So excessive earwax might make you think your hearing aids are having problems.

Can earwax affect your hearing?

Well, yes it can. One of the most typical issues associated with excess earwax is hearing loss. When earwax builds up in the ear canal it produces a blockage of sound causing a form of hearing loss known as conductive hearing loss. Your hearing will usually go back to normal after the wax is cleared out.

But if the accumulation becomes extreme, long term damage can occur. The same is true of earwax-related tinnitus. It’s typically temporary. But the longer the excess earwax sticks around (that is, the longer you ignore the symptoms), the greater the risk of long-term damage.

Prevention, treatment, or both?

If you want to safeguard your hearing, then it makes sense to keep an eye on your earwax. It’s improper cleaning, not excess production that causes buildup in most situations (a cotton swab, for instance, will frequently compress the earwax in your ear instead of removing it, eventually leading to a blockage).

Frequently, the wax has gotten hard, dense, and unmovable without professional help. The sooner you receive that help, the sooner you’ll be able to hear again (and the sooner you’ll be capable of cleaning your ears the correct way).

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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