Don’t neglect cleaning your ears. Whenever you say that, you inevitably use your “parent voice”. Perhaps you even recall getting that advice as a child. That’s the kind of memory that can remind you of simpler times as you wrap yourself in the nostalgia of youth.
But it’s also excellent advice. Uncontrolled earwax buildup can cause a substantial number of issues, particularly for your hearing. Still worse, this organic substance can harden in place making it difficult to clean out. In other words, the clearer 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 it’s actually essential for the health of your ears. 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 dirt and dust.
Essentially, the correct amount of earwax can help keep your ears clean and healthy. However counterintuitive it sounds, the reality is that earwax itself isn’t a sign of poor hygiene.
The troubles begin when your ears generate too much earwax. And it can be somewhat difficult to know if the amount of earwax being created is healthy or too much.
What does accumulated earwax do?
So, what develops as a result of accumulated earwax? There are numerous issues that may develop as a result of out-of-control earwax or earwax that accumulates over time. Here are a few:
- Dizziness: Your inner ear is vital to your balance. So when accumulated ear wax causes your inner ear to get out of whack, your balance can suffer, causing you to feel dizzy.
- Earache: One of the most common signs of accumulated earwax is an earache. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt that bad, and other times it can really hurt. This is typically a result of the earwax producing pressure someplace it shouldn’t.
- Tinnitus: Tinnitus is an affliction where you hear a phantom buzzing or ringing in your ears. Tinnitus symptoms can appear or get worse when earwax is built up inside your ear.
- Infection: Infections can be the outcome of surplus earwax. If fluid builds up, it can become trapped behind impacted earwax.
These are just a few. Headaches and pain can occur because of uncontrolled earwax accumulation. If you use hearing aids, excess earwax can interfere with them. This means that you may think your hearing aids are having problems when the real problem is a bit too much earwax.
Can earwax impact your hearing?
The quick answer is yes. Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent issues connected to excess earwax. When earwax builds up in the ear canal it produces a blockage of sound causing a kind of hearing loss known as conductive hearing loss. The problem normally clears up when the earwax is extracted, and usually, your hearing will return to normal.
But there can be long-term damage caused by accumulated earwax, especially if the buildup gets extreme enough. The same is true of earwax-related tinnitus. It’s typically temporary. But the longer the extra earwax sticks around (that is, the longer you ignore the symptoms), the greater the risk of long-term damage.
Prevention, treatment, or both?
It’s a good idea to keep track of your earwax if you want to protect your hearing. It’s incorrect cleaning, not excess production that causes buildup in most situations (for instance, blockage is frequently caused by cotton swabs, which tend to press the earwax further in rather than removing it).
It will often call for professional removal of the wax that has become solidified to the point that you can’t remove it. The sooner you receive that help, the sooner you’ll be able to hear again (and the sooner you’ll be capable of cleaning your ears the correct way).