Don’t forget to wash your ears. It’s difficult not to say that in your “parenting” voice. Maybe you even recall getting that advice as a child. As you get wrapped up in past nostalgia, that sort of memory can take you back to simpler times.
But that advice can be rather helpful. Your hearing can be significantly affected by out-of-control earwax. And additionally, earwax can harden up inside your ear and become really hard to clean. In a nutshell, the cleaner you keep your ears, the better off you’ll be.
Excessive earwax? Eww!
Earwax is, well, kind of gross. That’s an opinion that most people share. But it’s actually important for your ear’s health. 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.
Essentially, the correct amount of earwax can help keep your ears clean and healthy. However counterintuitive it seems, the reality is that earwax itself isn’t a sign of bad hygiene.
The problems start when your ears produce too much earwax. And it can be somewhat difficult to know if the amount of earwax being produced is healthy or too much.
What does accumulated earwax do?
So, what type of impact does excess earwax present? There are several issues that could arise due to out-of-control earwax or earwax that accumulates over time. Here are a few:
- Infection: Infections can be the consequence of surplus earwax. If fluid accumulates, it can become trapped behind impacted earwax.
- Tinnitus: When you hear buzzing and ringing that isn’t really there, you’re probably 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 accumulated earwax is an earache. It doesn’t have to hurt too much (though, in some cases it can). This usually happens when earwax is causing pressure in places that it shouldn’t be.
- Dizziness: Your inner ear is vital to your balance. You can suffer from bouts of dizziness and balance problems when your inner ear is having issues.
These are only a few. Neglected earwax can trigger painful headaches. If you use hearing aids, excess earwax can interfere with them. So excessive earwax might make you think your hearing aids are having problems.
Can earwax impact your hearing?
The quick answer is yes. One of the most typical issues associated with excess earwax is hearing loss. When earwax accumulates in the ear canal it produces a blockage of sound causing a kind of hearing loss known as conductive hearing loss. Your hearing will usually go back to normal after the wax is cleared out.
But there can be sustained damage caused by excess earwax, especially if the buildup gets severe enough. And tinnitus is also normally temporary but when earwax blockage persists, long-term damage can cause tinnitus to become an enduring 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 buildup is caused not by excess production but by incorrect cleaning (a cotton swab, for example, will often compact the earwax in your ear instead of removing it, eventually causing a blockage).
It will usually require professional eradication of the wax that has become hardened 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.