When you shower, always remember to clean your ears. It’s hard not to say that in your “parenting” voice. Maybe when you were a child 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 pretty helpful. Uncontrolled earwax accumulation can cause a substantial number of problems, especially for your hearing. And additionally, earwax can solidify 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 is not the most pleasing of materials. And we’re not going to attempt to change your mind about that. But it is actually important for your ear’s health. Earwax is manufactured by glands inside of 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 might seem strange, but earwax doesn’t suggest poor hygiene.
The problems start when your ears generate too much earwax. And it can be rather challenging to know if the amount of earwax being produced is healthy or too much.
What does excess earwax do?
So, what type of impact does excess earwax present? There are several problems that may develop due to out-of-control earwax or earwax that builds up over time. 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, in some cases it can). This is usually a result of the earwax creating pressure somewhere it shouldn’t.
- Infection: Excess earwax can lead to ear infections. If fluid builds up, it can become trapped behind plugged earwax.
- Tinnitus: When you hear buzzing and ringing that isn’t really there, you’re probably dealing with a condition called tinnitus. Tinnitus symptoms can show up or get worse when earwax is built up inside your ear.
- Dizziness: Your ability to maintain balance depends heavily on your inner ear. You can suffer from bouts of dizziness and balance problems when your inner ear is having problems.
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 malfunctioning.
Can earwax impact your hearing?
The short answer is yes. One of the most common problems associated with excess earwax is hearing loss. Normally causing a kind of conductive hearing loss, earwax accumulates in the ear canal, preventing sound waves and vibrations from getting very far. The issue usually clears up when the earwax is extracted, and usually, your hearing will go back to normal.
But there can be sustained damage caused by excess earwax, especially if the buildup gets extreme enough. And tinnitus is also normally temporary but when earwax blockage persists, 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 protect your hearing. In many instances, earwax buildup is caused not by excessive production but by improper cleaning (a cotton swab, for instance, will often compact the earwax in your ear rather than getting rid of it, eventually leading to a blockage).
It will usually require professional eradication of the wax that has become hardened to the point that you can’t remove it. The sooner you get that help, the sooner you’ll be capable of hearing again (and the sooner you’ll be capable of cleaning your ears the right way).