Don’t forget to wash your ears. It’s hard not to say that in your “parenting” voice. Perhaps when you were a kid you even remember your parents telling you to do it. As you get caught up in past nostalgia, that kind of memory can take you back to simpler times.
But it’s also excellent advice. Out-of-control earwax accumulation can cause a substantial number of problems, particularly for your hearing. Still worse, this organic compound can solidify in place making it difficult to clean out. Bottom line, you’ll be best off keeping those ears clear.
Excessive earwax? Eww!
Earwax is, well, sort of gross. And we’re not going to try to change your mind about that. But it is actually essential for your ear’s health. Produced by specialized glands in your ear and pushed outwards by your jaw’s chewing motion, earwax can help keep dirt and dust out of your ears.
So your ears will remain clean and healthy when they generate the right amount of earwax. It might seem peculiar, but earwax doesn’t indicate poor hygiene.
Too much earwax is where the trouble begins. And it can be rather challenging to know if the amount of earwax being produced is healthy or too much.
What does excess earwax do?
So, what develops as a result of excess earwax? There are numerous issues that may develop due to out-of-control earwax or earwax that builds up over time. Here are a few:
- Dizziness: Your ability to maintain balance depends greatly on your inner ear. You can suffer from episodes of dizziness and balance issues when your inner ear is having problems.
- Earache: An earache is one of the most common signs of excess earwax. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt that much, and other times it can really hurt. This is typically a result of the earwax creating pressure somewhere it shouldn’t.
- Tinnitus: Tinnitus is an affliction where you hear a phantom ringing or buzzing in your ears. Earwax buildup can cause tinnitus symptoms to worsen or to emerge.
- Infection: Infections can be the outcome of excessive earwax. Sometimes, that’s because the earwax can trap fluid where it ought not to be.
This list is only the beginning. Headaches and discomfort can happen because of uncontrolled earwax buildup. If you use hearing aids, excess earwax can impede them. So excessive earwax might make you think your hearing aids are having problems.
Can your hearing be impacted by earwax?
Well, yes it can. Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent problems linked to excess earwax. Usually causing a kind of conductive hearing loss, earwax accumulates in the ear canal, preventing sound waves and vibrations from getting very far. Your hearing will usually return to normal after the wax is cleaned out.
But if the accumulation becomes extreme, long term damage can develop. And tinnitus is also typically temporary but when earwax blockage lingers, long-term damage can cause tinnitus to become an enduring condition.
Prevention, treatment, or both?
If you want to safeguard your hearing, then it makes sense to keep an eye on your earwax. It’s incorrect cleaning, not excess production that causes buildup in most cases (a cotton swab, for instance, will frequently compress the earwax in your ear rather than getting rid of 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 get rid of it. 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 correct way).