When you take a shower, always remember to clean your ears. It’s hard not to say that in your “parenting” voice. Perhaps when you were a kid you even remember your parents telling you to do it. As you get wrapped up in past nostalgia, that kind of memory can take you back to simpler times.
But that advice can be rather helpful. Your hearing can be substantially impacted by out-of-control earwax. Still worse, this organic compound can solidify in place making it difficult to clean out. Bottom line, you’ll be best off keeping those ears clear.
Excessive earwax? Eww!
Okay, earwax isn’t the most pleasing of substances. That’s a viewpoint that most individuals share. But it’s actually important for your ear’s health. 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.
In other words, the correct amount of earwax can help keep your ears clean and healthy. It might seem peculiar, but earwax doesn’t suggest poor hygiene.
The troubles start when your ears produce too much earwax. And, naturally, it can sometimes be a little bit difficult to tell when a healthy quantity of earwax begins to outweigh its usefulness (literally).
What does accumulated earwax do?
So, what type of impact does excess earwax present? There are several problems that may arise as a result of out-of-control earwax or earwax that builds up over time. Here are a few:
- Earache: One of the most common signs of excess earwax is an earache. It doesn’t have to hurt a lot (though, sometimes it can). This normally occurs when earwax is creating pressure in places where it shouldn’t be.
- Tinnitus: Tinnitus is a condition where you hear a phantom buzzing or ringing in your ears. Earwax buildup can cause tinnitus symptoms to worsen or to appear.
- Infection: Excessive earwax can lead to ear infections. In some cases, that’s because the earwax can lock in fluid where it ought not to be.
- Dizziness: Your inner ear is vital to your balance. So when excess ear wax causes your inner ear to have issues, your balance can be affected, causing you to feel dizzy.
These are only a few. Ignored earwax can cause painful headaches. Excessive earwax can hinder the functionality of hearing aids. This means that you may think your hearing aids are malfunctioning when the real issue is a little bit too much earwax.
Can your hearing be impacted by earwax?
Well, yes it can. Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent problems linked to excess earwax. Usually producing a kind of conductive hearing loss, earwax builds up in the ear canal, preventing sound waves and vibrations from getting very far. The issue normally goes away when the earwax is eliminated, and usually, your hearing will return to normal.
But if the accumulation becomes severe, permanent damage can develop. And tinnitus is also usually temporary but when earwax blockage lingers, long-term 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. It’s improper cleaning, not excess production that leads to buildup in most instances (for example, blockage is often caused by cotton swabs, which tend to push the earwax further in instead of getting rid of it).
Often, the wax has become hardened, dense, and unable to clear without professional treatment. The sooner you receive that treatment, the sooner you’ll be capable of hearing again (and the sooner you’ll be able to start cleaning your ears the correct way).