When you take a shower, always remember to wash your ears. Whenever you say that, you inescapably use your “parent voice”. Maybe when you were a child you even recall your parents telling you to do it. As you get caught up in past nostalgia, that kind of memory can take you back to simpler times.
But that advice can be rather helpful. Uncontrolled earwax accumulation can cause a significant number of problems, especially for your hearing. Still worse, this organic compound can solidify in place making it difficult to clean out. In a nutshell, the cleaner you keep your ears, the better off you’ll be.
Excessive earwax? Eww!
We get it, earwax is not the most appealing of materials. And we’re not going to attempt to change your mind about that. But earwax does have a purpose. Produced by special glands in your ear and pushed outwards by your jaw’s chewing motion, earwax can help keep dirt and dust out of your ears.
So your ears will remain clean and healthy when they produce the ideal amount of earwax. It may seem strange, but earwax doesn’t indicate poor hygiene.
The troubles begin when your ears generate too much earwax. And it can be rather difficult to know if the amount of earwax being generated is healthy or too much.
What is the consequence of excess earwax?
So, what develops as a result of accumulated earwax? There are several issues that may arise as a result of out-of-control earwax or earwax that builds up over time. Here are a few:
- Dizziness: Your inner ear is essential to your balance. So when accumulated ear wax causes your inner ear to have issues, your balance can be affected, causing you to feel dizzy.
- Tinnitus: When you hear ringing or buzzing that isn’t actually there, you’re probably suffering from a condition known as tinnitus. Tinnitus symptoms can appear or get worse when earwax is built up inside your ear.
- Earache: One of the most prevalent signs of excess earwax is an earache. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt that bad, and other times it can hurt a lot. This usually occurs when earwax is causing pressure in places where it shouldn’t be.
- Infection: Infections can be the outcome of surplus earwax. If fluid accumulates, it can get trapped behind plugged earwax.
These are just a few. Neglected earwax can cause painful headaches. If you wear hearing aids, excess earwax can impede them. This means that you may think your hearing aids are malfunctioning when the real issue is a little bit too much earwax.
Can earwax affect your hearing?
Well, yes it can. One of the most common problems associated with excess earwax is hearing loss. Normally producing a kind of conductive hearing loss, earwax accumulates in the ear canal, stopping sound waves and vibrations from getting very far. Your hearing will typically go back to normal after the wax is cleared out.
But there can be long-term damage caused by excess earwax, particularly if the buildup gets severe 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?
It’s a good plan 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 (a cotton swab, for example, will frequently compact the earwax in your ear instead of removing it, eventually causing a blockage).
It will often call for professional removal of the wax that has become solidified to the point that you can’t remove it. You’ll be able to start hearing again after you get that treatment and then you can start over, cleaning your ears the right way.