Don’t neglect cleaning your ears. It’s difficult not to say that in your “parenting” voice. Perhaps you even remember getting that advice as a child. As you get wrapped up in past nostalgia, that kind of memory can take you back to simpler times.
But it’s also great advice. Uncontrolled earwax buildup can cause a significant number of problems, particularly for your hearing. And on top of that, earwax can harden up inside your ear and become really difficult to clean. Bottom line, you’ll be best off keeping those ears clear.
Excessive earwax? Eww!
Earwax is, well, kind of gross. That’s a viewpoint that most individuals share. But earwax does have a purpose. 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 dirt and dust.
Essentially, the right amount of earwax can help keep your ears clean and healthy. It might seem peculiar, but earwax doesn’t suggest poor hygiene.
Too much earwax is where the problem starts. And, naturally, it can sometimes be a bit challenging to tell when a healthy amount of earwax begins to outweigh its usefulness (literally).
What is the consequence of excess earwax?
So, what develops as a result of accumulated earwax? Earwax that gets out of hand and, over time, accumulates, can lead to a number of problems. Those issues include:
- Dizziness: Your ability to maintain balance depends heavily on your inner ear. You can suffer from bouts of dizziness and balance issues when your inner ear is having issues.
- Tinnitus: Tinnitus is an affliction where you hear a phantom buzzing or ringing in your ears. Earwax buildup can cause tinnitus symptoms to worsen or to emerge.
- Earache: One of the most prevalent signs of excess earwax is an earache. It doesn’t have to hurt a lot (though, in some cases it can). This normally occurs when earwax is creating pressure in places that it shouldn’t be.
- Infection: Infections can be the consequence of excessive earwax. Sometimes, that’s because the earwax can lock in fluid where it ought not to be.
These are only a few. Ignored earwax can cause painful headaches. Too much earwax can interfere with the functionality of hearing aids. So too much earwax might make you think your hearing aids are having problems.
Can earwax affect your hearing?
Well, yes it can. Hearing loss is one of the most common issues linked to excess earwax. Usually causing a form of conductive hearing loss, earwax accumulates in the ear canal, stopping sound waves and vibrations from getting in. The problem normally clears up when the earwax is eliminated, and normally, your hearing will return to normal.
But there can be sustained damage caused by accumulated earwax, especially if the buildup gets extreme enough. And tinnitus is also normally temporary but when earwax blockage persists, permanent damage can cause tinnitus to become a lasting condition.
Prevention, treatment, or both?
If you want to safeguard your hearing, then it seems logical to keep an eye on your earwax. In many cases, earwax buildup is caused not by excess production but by incorrect 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 solidified to the point that you can’t remove it. 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 correct way.