Don’t neglect cleaning your ears. It’s difficult not to say that in your “parenting” voice. Perhaps 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 childhood.
But it’s also good advice. Your hearing can be substantially impacted by out-of-control earwax. 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 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. Created by special glands in your ear and pushed outwards by your jaw’s chewing motion, earwax can help keep dust and dirt out of your ears.
So your ears will stay clean and healthy when they produce the ideal amount of earwax. However counterintuitive it seems, the reality is that earwax itself is not a sign of bad hygiene.
An excessive amount of earwax is where the trouble begins. And, naturally, it can sometimes be a bit challenging to tell when a healthy quantity of earwax begins to outweigh its advantages (literally).
What does excess earwax do?
So, what develops as a result of accumulated earwax? There are numerous problems that may develop due to out-of-control earwax or earwax that builds up over time. Those issues include:
- Infection: Infections can be the consequence of excessive earwax. If fluid builds up, it can become trapped behind impacted earwax.
- Earache: An earache is one of the most prevalent indications of excess earwax. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt that bad, and other times it can really hurt. This is typically a result of the earwax producing pressure someplace it shouldn’t.
- Dizziness: Your inner ear is essential to your balance. You can suffer from episodes of dizziness and balance problems when your inner ear is having trouble.
- Tinnitus: When you hear ringing or buzzing that isn’t really there, you’re probably suffering from a condition known as tinnitus. Tinnitus symptoms can show up or get worse when earwax is built up inside your ear.
This list is only the beginning. Neglected earwax can cause painful headaches. Excessive earwax can hinder the functionality of hearing aids. So excessive earwax may make you think your hearing aids are having problems.
Can your hearing be impacted by earwax?
The quick answer is yes. One of the most typical problems associated with excess earwax is hearing loss. Normally producing a form of conductive hearing loss, earwax builds up in the ear canal, stopping sound waves and vibrations from getting in. The problem normally clears up when the earwax is removed, and usually, your hearing will return to normal.
But if the buildup becomes extreme, long term damage can develop. And tinnitus is also typically temporary but when earwax blockage lingers, long-term damage can cause tinnitus to become an enduring 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 accumulation is caused not by excess production but by incorrect cleaning (a cotton swab, for instance, will frequently compress the earwax in your ear rather than getting rid of it, eventually causing a blockage).
Frequently, the wax has gotten hard, dense, and unable to clear without professional help. 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.