When you take a shower, always remember to wash your ears. Whenever you say that, you inescapably use your “parent voice”. Perhaps you even remember getting that advice as a kid. That’s the kind of memory that can take you back to simpler times as you wrap yourself in the nostalgia of youth.
But it’s also great advice. Your hearing can be substantially impacted by out-of-control earwax. And on top of that, earwax can harden up inside your ear and become really hard to clean. Bottom line, you’ll be best off keeping those ears clear.
Excessive earwax? Eww!
We get it, earwax isn’t the most pleasing of substances. And we’re not going to attempt to change your mind about that. But earwax does have a purpose. Produced by special glands in your ear and churned outwards by your jaw’s chewing motion, earwax can help keep dirt and dust out of your ears.
Essentially, the correct amount of earwax can help keep your ears healthy and clean. It might seem strange, but earwax doesn’t indicate poor hygiene.
Too much earwax is where the trouble starts. And, understandably, it can sometimes be a little bit challenging to tell when a healthy amount of earwax starts to outweigh its advantages (literally).
What is the impact of excess earwax?
So, what happens as a consequence of accumulated earwax? There are several issues that may develop as a result of out-of-control earwax or earwax that accumulates over time. Those issues include:
- Earache: An earache is one of the most prevalent signs of excess earwax. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt that bad, and other times it can really hurt. This is usually a result of the earwax creating pressure somewhere it shouldn’t.
- Dizziness: Your inner ear is essential to your balance. You can suffer from bouts of dizziness and balance problems when your inner ear is having problems.
- Infection: Excessive earwax can lead to ear infections. Sometimes, that’s because the earwax can trap fluid where it shouldn’t be.
- Tinnitus: When you hear buzzing and ringing that isn’t really there, you’re usually suffering from a condition known as tinnitus. Earwax buildup can cause tinnitus symptoms to worsen or to emerge.
These are just a few. Neglected earwax can cause painful headaches. 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 little bit too much earwax.
Can earwax impact your hearing?
The quick answer is yes. One of the most typical issues connected 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. The issue normally clears up when the earwax is eliminated, and normally, your hearing will return to normal.
But there can be long-term damage caused by accumulated earwax, especially if the buildup gets severe enough. 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 improper cleaning, not excess production that causes buildup in most situations (a cotton swab, for example, will frequently compress the earwax in your ear rather than removing it, eventually causing a blockage).
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 capable of hearing again (and the sooner you’ll be able to start cleaning your ears the correct way).