Don’t forget to wash your ears. Whenever you say that, you inescapably use your “parent voice”. Maybe when you were a kid you even recall your parents telling you to do it. That’s the type 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. Your hearing can be significantly affected by out-of-control earwax. And on top of that, 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. And we’re not going to attempt to change your mind about that. But earwax does serve 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.
In other words, the ideal amount of earwax can help keep your ears healthy and clean. It may seem weird, but earwax doesn’t indicate poor hygiene.
An excessive amount of earwax is where the trouble begins. And, naturally, it can sometimes be a little bit challenging to tell when a healthy quantity of earwax begins to outweigh its advantages (literally).
What is the consequence of accumulated earwax?
So, what develops as a result of excess earwax? There are numerous problems that may develop due to out-of-control earwax or earwax that builds up over time. Here are a few:
- Earache: One of the most prevalent signs of accumulated earwax is an earache. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt that bad, and other times it can hurt a lot. This usually happens when earwax is causing pressure in places that it shouldn’t be.
- Tinnitus: When you hear buzzing and ringing that isn’t really there, you’re usually dealing with a condition called tinnitus. Tinnitus symptoms can appear or get worse when earwax is built up inside your ear.
- Infection: Excessive earwax can lead to ear infections. Sometimes, that’s because the earwax can trap fluid where it ought not to be.
- Dizziness: Your ability to maintain balance depends greatly on your inner ear. You can suffer from bouts of dizziness and balance issues when your inner ear is having issues.
This list is only the beginning. Ignored earwax can cause painful headaches. If you use hearing aids, excess earwax can impede them. So excessive earwax may make you think your hearing aids are having problems.
Can earwax impact your hearing?
The short answer is yes. Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent problems connected to excess earwax. Normally causing a kind of conductive hearing loss, earwax builds up in the ear canal, stopping sound waves and vibrations from getting in. Your hearing will typically return to normal after the wax is cleaned out.
But if the accumulation becomes severe, permanent damage can develop. And tinnitus is also typically temporary but when earwax blockage persists, long-term damage can cause tinnitus to become a lasting condition.
Prevention, treatment, or both?
It’s a good idea to keep track of your earwax if you want to safeguard your hearing. It’s incorrect cleaning, not excess production that leads to buildup in most situations (a cotton swab, for example, will frequently compact 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 get rid of 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.