When you take a shower, always remember to clean your ears. Whenever you say that, you inescapably use your “parent voice”. Perhaps when you were a child you even recall your parents telling you to do it. That’s the sort 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 significantly impacted by out-of-control earwax. Still worse, this organic substance can solidify in place making it challenging to clean out. Bottom line, you’ll be best off keeping those ears clear.
Excessive earwax? Eww!
Earwax is, well, sort of gross. And we’re not going to try to change your mind about that. But it’s actually important for the health of your ears. Earwax is produced 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 right amount of earwax can help keep your ears clean and healthy. It may seem peculiar, but earwax doesn’t suggest poor hygiene.
Too much earwax is where the problem begins. And it can be fairly challenging to know if the amount of earwax being generated is healthy or too much.
What is the impact of accumulated earwax?
So, what kind of impact does excess earwax have? There are several issues that may develop as a result of out-of-control earwax or earwax that accumulates over time. Those issues include:
- Infection: Excess earwax can lead to ear infections. If fluid builds up, it can get trapped behind impacted earwax.
- Tinnitus: Tinnitus is a condition where you hear a phantom ringing or buzzing in your ears. Earwax buildup can cause tinnitus symptoms to worsen or to appear.
- Earache: An earache is one of the most prevalent indications of excess earwax. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt that much, and other times it can really hurt. This is typically a result of the earwax creating pressure someplace it shouldn’t.
- Dizziness: Your inner ear is essential to your balance. So when excess ear wax causes your inner ear to have issues, your balance can suffer, causing dizziness.
These are only a few. Neglected earwax can cause painful headaches. If you wear hearing aids, excess earwax can interfere with them. This means that you may think your hearing aids are having problems when the real issue is a little bit too much earwax.
Can your hearing be impacted by earwax?
Well, yes it can. One of the most common problems associated with excess earwax is hearing loss. Usually causing a form of conductive hearing loss, earwax builds up in the ear canal, preventing 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 buildup becomes severe, long term damage can appear. The same goes for earwax-related tinnitus. It’s typically not permanent. But the longer the excess earwax sticks around (that is, the longer you neglect the symptoms), the bigger the danger of long-term damage.
Prevention, treatment, or both?
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your earwax if you want to safeguard your hearing. It’s incorrect cleaning, not excess production that causes buildup in most cases (for example, blockage is often caused by cotton swabs, which will push the earwax further in rather than removing it).
Often, the wax has become hardened, dense, and unable to clear 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.