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 recall getting that advice as a kid. That’s the type of memory that can remind you of simpler times as you wrap yourself in the nostalgia of youth.

But it’s also excellent advice. Your hearing can be significantly impacted by out-of-control earwax. Still worse, this organic substance 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 is not the most appealing of materials. And we’re not going to try to change your mind about that. But earwax does have a purpose. Earwax is produced by glands inside of 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 remain clean and healthy when they generate the right amount of earwax. However counterintuitive it seems, the reality is that earwax itself is not a sign of poor hygiene.

Too much earwax is where the trouble begins. And, naturally, it can sometimes be a bit difficult to tell when a healthy amount of earwax starts to outweigh its advantages (literally).

What does accumulated earwax do?

So, what develops as a consequence of excess earwax? There are several problems that could develop as a result of out-of-control earwax or earwax that accumulates over time. Here are a few:

  • Infection: Infections can be the outcome of excessive earwax. Sometimes, that’s because the earwax can trap fluid where it shouldn’t be.
  • Earache: An earache is one of the most prevalent indications of excess earwax. It doesn’t have to hurt a lot (though, sometimes it can). This is usually a result of the earwax producing pressure someplace it shouldn’t.
  • Dizziness: Your ability to manage balance depends heavily 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.
  • Tinnitus: Tinnitus is a condition where you hear a phantom ringing or buzzing in your ears. Tinnitus symptoms can show up or get worse when earwax accumulates inside your ear.

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 your hearing be affected by earwax?

The short answer is yes. Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent issues linked to excess earwax. Usually causing a form of conductive hearing loss, earwax accumulates in the ear canal, stopping sound waves and vibrations from getting in. The problem usually goes away when the earwax is removed, and normally, your hearing will return to normal.

But there can be sustained damage caused by accumulated earwax, especially if the buildup gets severe enough. And tinnitus is also typically temporary but when earwax blockage persists, permanent damage can cause tinnitus to become an enduring condition.

Prevention, treatment, or both?

It’s a good idea to keep track of your earwax if you want to safeguard your hearing. In many cases, earwax buildup is caused not by excess production but by incorrect cleaning (a cotton swab, for example, will frequently compress the earwax in your ear rather than getting rid of it, eventually leading to a blockage).

It will usually call for professional eradication of the wax that has become solidified to the point that you can’t remove it. You’ll be capable of starting to hear again after 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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