When you shower, always remember to clean your ears. It’s hard not to say that in your “parenting” voice. Maybe you even recall getting that advice as a kid. 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 excellent advice. Your hearing can be significantly affected by out-of-control earwax. Still worse, this organic compound can harden in place making it challenging to clean out. Bottom line, you’ll be best off keeping those ears clean.
Excessive earwax? Eww!
Okay, earwax is not the most pleasing of materials. That’s a viewpoint that most individuals share. But it is actually important for the health of your ears. 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.
So your ears will remain clean and healthy when they generate the ideal amount of earwax. However counterintuitive it sounds, the reality is that earwax itself is not a sign of poor hygiene.
Too much earwax is where the trouble begins. And, understandably, it can sometimes be a little bit difficult to tell when a healthy amount of earwax starts to outweigh its advantages (literally).
What is the consequence of excess earwax?
So, what happens as a consequence of excess earwax? There are several issues that could develop as a result of out-of-control earwax or earwax that builds up over time. Those problems include:
- Tinnitus: Tinnitus is a condition where you hear a phantom ringing or buzzing in your ears. Tinnitus symptoms can show up or get worse when earwax is built up inside your ear.
- Infection: Infections can be the consequence of excessive earwax. In some cases, that’s because the earwax can lock in fluid where it ought not to be.
- Dizziness: Your inner ear is essential to your balance. You can suffer from bouts of dizziness and balance issues when your inner ear is having problems.
- Earache: One of the most common signs of accumulated earwax is an earache. It doesn’t have to hurt too much (though, sometimes it can). This is usually a result of the earwax producing pressure somewhere it shouldn’t.
This list is just the beginning. Headaches and pain can happen because of uncontrolled earwax buildup. If you wear hearing aids, excess earwax can impede them. This means that you might think your hearing aids are having problems when the real problem is a bit too much earwax.
Can earwax impact your hearing?
Well, yes it can. One of the most typical problems connected with excess earwax is hearing loss. When earwax accumulates in the ear canal it causes a blockage of sound causing a kind of hearing loss called conductive hearing loss. The problem usually goes away when the earwax is extracted, and usually, your hearing will go back to normal.
But there can be sustained damage caused by excess earwax, particularly if the buildup gets severe enough. And tinnitus is also normally temporary but when earwax blockage persists, long-term damage can cause tinnitus to become a lasting condition.
Prevention, treatment, or both?
If you want to protect your hearing, then it makes sense to keep an eye on your earwax. It’s improper cleaning, not excess production that causes buildup in most instances (for example, blockage is frequently caused by cotton swabs, which will push the earwax further in rather than removing it).
Often, the wax has gotten hard, thick, and unmovable without professional treatment. The sooner you get that treatment, the sooner you’ll be able to hear again (and the sooner you’ll be able to start cleaning your ears the right way).