Woman suffering from earwax blockage applying ear drops herself

When you shower, always remember to clean your ears. It’s hard not to say that in your “parenting” voice. Perhaps when you were a child you even remember your parents telling you to do it. That’s the sort of memory that can remind you of simpler times as you wrap yourself in the nostalgia of childhood.

But that advice can be pretty helpful. Uncontrolled earwax accumulation can cause a substantial number of problems, especially for your hearing. Even worse, this organic compound can harden in place making it difficult to clean out. Bottom line, you’ll be best off keeping those ears clear.

Excessive earwax? Eww!

We get it, earwax isn’t the most pleasing of substances. That’s a viewpoint that most individuals share. But earwax does serve 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 dust and dirt.

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

The troubles start when your ears produce too much earwax. And it can be somewhat challenging to know if the amount of earwax being produced is healthy or too much.

What is the consequence of accumulated earwax?

So, what develops as a result of excess earwax? Earwax that gets out of control and, over time, builds up, can cause several problems. Here are a few:

  • Tinnitus: When you hear buzzing and ringing that isn’t really there, you’re usually suffering from a condition known as tinnitus. Earwax accumulation can cause tinnitus symptoms to worsen or to appear.
  • Earache: An earache is one of the most prevalent symptoms of excess earwax. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt that much, and other times it can hurt a lot. This is typically a result of the earwax producing pressure someplace it shouldn’t.
  • Infection: Excess earwax can lead to ear infections. Sometimes, that’s because the earwax can lock in fluid where it shouldn’t be.
  • Dizziness: Your ability to maintain balance depends heavily on your inner ear. You can suffer from bouts of dizziness and balance problems when your inner ear is having issues.

This list is only the beginning. Ignored earwax can cause painful headaches. Excess earwax can interfere with the functionality of hearing aids. So too much earwax might make you think your hearing aids are malfunctioning.

Can your hearing be impacted by earwax?

The quick answer is yes. Hearing loss is one of the most common problems linked to excess earwax. When earwax accumulates in the ear canal it causes a blockage of sound causing a kind of hearing loss called conductive hearing loss. The issue usually goes away when the earwax is extracted, and normally, your hearing will return to normal.

But there can be sustained damage caused by excess earwax, especially if the buildup gets extreme enough. The same is true of earwax-caused tinnitus. It’s typically temporary. But the longer the excess earwax sticks around (that is, the longer you neglect the symptoms), the greater the risk of long-term damage.

Prevention, treatment, or both?

If you want to protect 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 instances (for example, blockage is frequently a result of cotton swabs, which will push the earwax further in rather than getting rid of it).

Frequently, the wax has gotten hard, dense, and unmovable without professional treatment. You’ll be capable of starting to hear again as soon as you get that treatment and then you can start over, 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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