When you take a 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 remember your parents telling you to do it. That’s the kind of memory that can take you back to simpler times as you wrap yourself in the nostalgia of youth.
But that advice can be pretty helpful. Your hearing can be significantly 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 clean.
Excessive earwax? Eww!
Earwax is, well, sort 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 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.
In other words, the ideal amount of earwax can help keep your ears healthy and clean. It might seem peculiar, but earwax doesn’t suggest poor hygiene.
Too much earwax is where the trouble begins. And, naturally, it can sometimes be a bit challenging to tell when a healthy amount of earwax begins to outweigh its advantages (literally).
What does accumulated earwax do?
So, what type of impact does excess earwax present? There are numerous problems that may arise as a result of out-of-control earwax or earwax that builds up over time. Here are a few:
- Infection: Excess earwax can lead to ear infections. Sometimes, that’s because the earwax can lock in fluid where it ought not to be.
- Tinnitus: Tinnitus is a condition where you hear a phantom buzzing or ringing in your ears. Tinnitus symptoms can show up or get worse when earwax accumulates inside your ear.
- Dizziness: Your inner ear is vital to your balance. So when accumulated ear wax causes your inner ear to have issues, your balance can suffer, causing you to feel dizzy.
- Earache: One of the most prevalent signs of excess earwax is an earache. It doesn’t have to hurt too much (though, sometimes it can). This normally happens when earwax is causing pressure in places where it shouldn’t be.
These are only a few. Ignored earwax can trigger 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?
Well, yes it can. One of the most common issues connected with excess earwax is hearing loss. When earwax builds up in the ear canal it causes a blockage of sound causing a form of hearing loss called conductive hearing loss. The issue usually goes away when the earwax is removed, and usually, your hearing will return to normal.
But there can be long-term damage caused by accumulated earwax, particularly if the buildup gets severe enough. And tinnitus is also usually temporary but when earwax blockage lingers, permanent damage can cause tinnitus to become an enduring condition.
Prevention, treatment, or both?
It’s a good idea to keep track of your earwax if you want to protect your hearing. In many cases, earwax accumulation is caused not by excess production but by improper cleaning (for instance, blockage is frequently a result of cotton swabs, which will push the earwax further in rather than removing it).
It will usually require professional removal of the wax that has become solidified to the point that you can’t get rid of it. The sooner you get that treatment, the sooner you’ll be capable of hearing again (and the sooner you’ll be capable of cleaning your ears the right way).