Don’t forget to wash your ears. It’s hard not to say that in your “parenting” voice. Perhaps when you were a child you even recall 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 great advice. Uncontrolled earwax buildup can cause a substantial number of problems, particularly for your hearing. Even worse, this organic substance can solidify in place making it difficult to clean out. In a nutshell, the clearer you keep your ears, the better off you’ll be.
Excessive earwax? Eww!
Okay, earwax is not the most pleasing of substances. And we’re not going to try to change your mind about that. But it is actually important for the health of your ears. Created 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.
In other words, the correct amount of earwax can help keep your ears healthy and clean. It might seem peculiar, but earwax doesn’t suggest poor hygiene.
An excessive amount of earwax is where the trouble begins. And, understandably, it can sometimes be a bit difficult to tell when a healthy quantity of earwax starts to outweigh its usefulness (literally).
What is the consequence of excess earwax?
So, what happens as a consequence of excess earwax? Earwax that gets out of hand and, over time, accumulates, can lead to several issues. Here are a few:
- Dizziness: Your ability to manage balance depends greatly on your inner ear. You can suffer from episodes of dizziness and balance issues when your inner ear is having issues.
- Infection: Infections can be the outcome of excessive earwax. If fluid accumulates, it can get trapped behind plugged earwax.
- 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 creating pressure in places where it shouldn’t be.
- Tinnitus: When you hear buzzing and ringing that isn’t actually there, you’re probably suffering from a condition known as tinnitus. Tinnitus symptoms can show up or get worse when earwax is built up inside your ear.
These are just a few. Headaches and discomfort can occur because of uncontrolled earwax buildup. Excessive earwax can interfere with the functionality of hearing aids. So excessive earwax might make you think your hearing aids are having problems.
Can earwax affect your hearing?
Well, yes it can. Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent issues connected to excess earwax. Normally causing a form of conductive hearing loss, earwax accumulates in the ear canal, preventing sound waves and vibrations from getting very far. Your hearing will typically return to normal after the wax is cleared out.
But there can be long-term damage caused by accumulated earwax, especially if the buildup gets extreme enough. And tinnitus is also normally temporary but when earwax blockage lingers, permanent damage can cause tinnitus to become an enduring condition.
Prevention, treatment, or both?
If you want to safeguard your hearing, then it seems logical to keep an eye on your earwax. It’s incorrect cleaning, not excess production that leads to buildup in most situations (for instance, blockage is often a result of cotton swabs, which tend to press the earwax further in instead of removing it).
It will often call for 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 as soon as you get that treatment and then you can start over, cleaning your ears the correct way.