Don’t forget to wash your ears. Whenever you say that, you inescapably use your “parent voice”. Maybe when you were a child you even remember your parents telling you to do it. That’s the sort of memory that can remind you of simpler times as you wrap yourself in the nostalgia of youth.
But that advice can be rather helpful. Your hearing can be substantially affected by an overabundance of earwax. And additionally, earwax can solidify inside your ear and become really difficult to clean. In a nutshell, the cleaner you keep your ears, the better off you’ll be.
Excessive earwax? Eww!
We get it, earwax is not the most pleasing of substances. That’s a viewpoint that most individuals share. But earwax does have a purpose. Created by special glands in your ear and churned outwards by your jaw’s chewing motion, earwax can help keep dust and dirt out of your ears.
In other words, the ideal amount of earwax can help keep your ears healthy and clean. However counterintuitive it sounds, 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 generated is healthy or too much.
What is the impact of excess earwax?
So, what develops as a result of accumulated earwax? There are numerous problems that could arise due to out-of-control earwax or earwax that accumulates over time. Those issues include:
- Infection: Infections can be the outcome of excessive earwax. Sometimes, that’s because the earwax can lock in fluid where it ought not to be.
- Earache: An earache is one of the most prevalent symptoms of excess earwax. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt that bad, and other times it can really hurt. This is typically a result of the earwax creating pressure somewhere it shouldn’t.
- Dizziness: Your ability to manage balance depends heavily on your inner ear. You can suffer from episodes of dizziness and balance issues when your inner ear is having problems.
- Tinnitus: Tinnitus is an affliction where you hear a phantom ringing or buzzing in your ears. Earwax accumulation can cause tinnitus symptoms to worsen or to emerge.
These are just a few. Headaches and discomfort can occur because of unchecked earwax buildup. Excess earwax can interfere with the functionality of hearing aids. So too much earwax might make you think your hearing aids are malfunctioning.
Can your hearing be impacted by earwax?
The short answer is yes. Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent issues connected to excess earwax. Normally causing a form of conductive hearing loss, earwax builds up in the ear canal, stopping sound waves and vibrations from getting in. Your hearing will typically go back to normal after the wax is cleared out.
But there can be sustained damage caused by accumulated earwax, especially if the buildup gets extreme enough. And tinnitus is also usually temporary but when earwax blockage persists, permanent damage can cause tinnitus to become an enduring condition.
Prevention, treatment, or both?
If you want to protect 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 situations (for instance, blockage is often caused by cotton swabs, which tend to push the earwax further in rather than removing it).
Frequently, the wax has gotten hard, dense, and unmovable without professional help. You’ll be able to start hearing again after you get that treatment and then you can start over, cleaning your ears the correct way.