Woman suffering from earwax blockage applying ear drops herself

Don’t forget to wash your ears. It’s hard not to say that in your “parenting” voice. Maybe you even remember getting that advice as a child. As you get caught up in past nostalgia, that sort of memory can take you back to simpler times.

But that advice can be rather helpful. Out-of-control earwax accumulation can cause a significant number of problems, especially for your hearing. And on top of that, earwax can harden up inside your ear and become really difficult to clean. Bottom line, you’ll be best off keeping those ears clear.

Excessive earwax? Eww!

Okay, earwax is not the most pleasing of substances. That’s a viewpoint that most individuals share. But earwax does serve a purpose. Produced by special glands in your ear and pushed outwards by the chewing motions of your jaw, earwax can help keep dirt and dust out of your ears.

Essentially, the correct amount of earwax can help keep your ears healthy and clean. It might seem weird, but earwax doesn’t suggest poor hygiene.

An excessive amount of earwax is where the trouble begins. And, understandably, 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 kind of impact does excess earwax have? Earwax that gets out of control and, over time, accumulates, can cause several issues. Those problems include:

  • Dizziness: Your inner ear is vital to your balance. You can suffer from episodes of dizziness and balance problems when your inner ear is having trouble.
  • Tinnitus: When you hear buzzing and ringing that isn’t really there, you’re usually suffering from a condition known as tinnitus. Earwax buildup can cause tinnitus symptoms to worsen or to appear.
  • Earache: One of the most common signs of excess earwax is an earache. It doesn’t have to hurt a lot (though, in some cases it can). This is normally a result of the earwax creating pressure somewhere it shouldn’t.
  • Infection: Excessive earwax can lead to ear infections. If fluid builds up, it can get trapped behind plugged earwax.

These are just a few. Ignored earwax can cause painful headaches. Too much earwax can hinder the functionality of hearing aids. This means that you might think your hearing aids are having problems when the real issue is a bit too much earwax.

Can earwax affect your hearing?

Well, yes it can. One of the most common problems associated with excess earwax is hearing loss. When earwax builds up in the ear canal it causes a blockage of sound causing a kind of hearing loss called conductive hearing loss. Your hearing will typically return to normal after the wax is cleared out.

But if the buildup becomes extreme, long term damage can happen. And tinnitus is also typically temporary but when earwax blockage lingers, long-term damage can cause tinnitus to become a lasting condition.

Prevention, treatment, or both?

It’s a good plan to keep track of your earwax if you want to safeguard your hearing. In many circumstances, earwax accumulation is caused not by excessive production but by incorrect cleaning (for instance, blockage is frequently caused by cotton swabs, which tend to push the earwax further in rather than removing it).

Often, the wax has gotten hard, thick, and unmovable without professional treatment. The sooner you get that treatment, the sooner you’ll be able to hear again (and the sooner you’ll be capable of cleaning your ears the right 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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