Don’t neglect cleaning your ears. Whenever you say that, you inevitably use your “parent voice”. Perhaps when you were a kid you even recall your parents telling you to do it. As you get wrapped up in past nostalgia, that sort of memory can take you back to simpler times.
But that advice can be rather helpful. Your hearing can be significantly affected by an overabundance of earwax. And on top of that, earwax can harden up inside your ear and become really difficult to clean. In other words, the clearer you keep your ears, the better off you’ll be.
Excessive earwax? Eww!
Okay, earwax isn’t the most pleasing of substances. And we’re not going to try to change your mind about that. But earwax does have a purpose. Earwax is made by glands in your ears and is then pushed out when you chew in order to keep your ears free of dust and dirt.
Essentially, the ideal amount of earwax can help keep your ears clean and healthy. It may seem strange, but earwax doesn’t suggest poor hygiene.
The troubles start when your ears produce too much earwax. And, naturally, it can sometimes be a bit challenging to tell when a healthy amount of earwax starts to outweigh its usefulness (literally).
What is the consequence of excess earwax?
So, what happens as a result of excess earwax? Earwax that gets out of hand and, over time, builds up, can cause several issues. Those issues include:
- Tinnitus: When you hear ringing or buzzing that isn’t actually there, you’re probably dealing with a condition called tinnitus. Earwax accumulation can cause tinnitus symptoms to worsen or to appear.
- Dizziness: Your inner ear is vital to your balance. You can suffer from bouts of dizziness and balance issues when your inner ear is having issues.
- Infection: Infections can be the outcome of surplus earwax. If fluid accumulates, it can become trapped behind plugged earwax.
- Earache: An earache is one of the most common signs 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 someplace it shouldn’t.
These are only a few. Headaches and pain can occur because of uncontrolled earwax accumulation. Excessive earwax can interfere with the functionality of hearing aids. This means that you might think your hearing aids are malfunctioning when the real problem is a bit too much earwax.
Can earwax affect your hearing?
The short answer is yes. One of the most common issues associated with excess earwax is hearing loss. When earwax accumulates in the ear canal it produces a blockage of sound causing a form of hearing loss called conductive hearing loss. Your hearing will typically return to normal after the wax is cleared out.
But there can be sustained damage caused by excess earwax, particularly if the buildup gets extreme enough. And tinnitus is also normally temporary but when earwax blockage lingers, long-term damage can cause tinnitus to become a lasting condition.
Prevention, treatment, or both?
It’s a good plan to keep an eye on your earwax if you want to safeguard your hearing. It’s incorrect cleaning, not excess production that leads to buildup in most instances (a cotton swab, for example, will frequently compact the earwax in your ear rather than removing it, eventually causing a blockage).
Often, the wax has gotten hard, dense, and unmovable without professional treatment. 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 right way.