Don’t neglect cleaning your ears. It’s difficult not to say that in your “parenting” voice. Maybe when you were a child you even remember 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 good advice. Your hearing can be significantly affected by out-of-control earwax. Still worse, this organic substance can solidify in place making it difficult to clean out. Bottom line, you’ll be best off keeping those ears clean.
Excessive earwax? Eww!
Earwax is, well, kind of gross. And we’re not going to attempt to change your mind about that. But it is actually important for the health of your ears. 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.
So your ears will stay clean and healthy when they generate the ideal amount of earwax. It may seem strange, but earwax doesn’t suggest poor hygiene.
Too much earwax is where the problem begins. And it can be rather difficult to know if the amount of earwax being created is healthy or too much.
What does excess earwax do?
So, what develops as a consequence of accumulated earwax? Earwax that gets out of hand and, over time, builds up, can lead to a number of issues. Those issues include:
- Earache: An earache is one of the most prevalent indications of excess earwax. It doesn’t have to hurt too much (though, sometimes it can). This is normally 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.
- 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.
- Infection: Excessive earwax can lead to ear infections. Sometimes, that’s because the earwax can lock in fluid where it shouldn’t be.
These are only a few. Ignored earwax can cause painful headaches. If you wear hearing aids, excess earwax can impede them. So excessive earwax might make you think your hearing aids are having problems.
Can earwax impact your hearing?
Well, yes it can. One of the most common problems associated with excess earwax is hearing loss. Normally causing a form of conductive hearing loss, earwax builds up in the ear canal, stopping sound waves and vibrations from getting in. The issue normally goes away when the earwax is eliminated, and normally, your hearing will return to normal.
But if the accumulation becomes severe, long term damage can happen. And tinnitus is also usually temporary but when earwax blockage persists, long-term damage can cause tinnitus to become a lasting 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 incorrect cleaning, not excess production that causes buildup in most situations (a cotton swab, for example, will often compress the earwax in your ear rather than removing it, eventually leading to a blockage).
It will usually require professional eradication of the wax that has become solidified to the point that you can’t remove it. 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.