When you take a shower, always remember to clean your ears. It’s hard not to say that in your “parenting” voice. Perhaps you even recall getting that advice as a child. That’s the sort of memory that can remind you of simpler times as you wrap yourself in the nostalgia of childhood.
But that advice can be rather helpful. Out-of-control earwax buildup can cause a substantial number of issues, especially for your hearing. Even worse, this organic compound can solidify in place making it challenging to clean out. Bottom line, you’ll be best off keeping those ears clean.
Excessive earwax? Eww!
We get it, earwax isn’t the most pleasing of substances. That’s an opinion that most people share. But it is actually important for your ear’s health. Earwax is produced by glands inside of your ears and is then pushed out when you chew in order to keep your ears free of dust and dirt.
So your ears will remain clean and healthy when they produce the right amount of earwax. However counterintuitive it sounds, the reality is that earwax itself is not a sign of poor hygiene.
The problems start when your ears produce too much earwax. And, understandably, it can sometimes be a bit challenging to tell when a healthy amount of earwax starts to outweigh its usefulness (literally).
What is the consequence of excess earwax?
So, what develops as a consequence of excess earwax? There are numerous issues that may arise due to out-of-control earwax or earwax that accumulates over time. Those problems include:
- Dizziness: Your inner ear is vital to your balance. So when accumulated ear wax causes your inner ear to get out of whack, your balance can suffer, causing dizziness.
- Earache: One of the most prevalent signs of accumulated earwax is an earache. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt that bad, and other times it can really hurt. This is normally a result of the earwax creating pressure somewhere it shouldn’t.
- Infection: Infections can be the consequence of surplus earwax. In some cases, that’s because the earwax can trap fluid where it ought not to be.
- Tinnitus: When you hear ringing or buzzing that isn’t actually there, you’re probably dealing with a condition known as tinnitus. Earwax buildup can cause tinnitus symptoms to worsen or to appear.
These are only a few. Ignored earwax can cause painful headaches. Too much earwax can hinder the functionality of hearing aids. This means that you may think your hearing aids are having problems when the real issue is a little bit too much earwax.
Can earwax impact your hearing?
Well, yes it can. Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent problems connected to excess earwax. Usually producing a form of conductive hearing loss, earwax builds up in the ear canal, stopping sound waves and vibrations from getting in. Your hearing will usually return to normal after the wax is cleared out.
But there can be long-term damage caused by excess earwax, especially if the buildup gets severe enough. The same is true of earwax-caused tinnitus. It’s typically not permanent. But the longer the extra earwax sticks around (that is, the longer you disregard the symptoms), the greater the risk of long-term damage.
Prevention, treatment, or both?
If you want to protect your hearing, then it seems logical to keep an eye on your earwax. It’s incorrect cleaning, not excess production that leads to buildup in most cases (a cotton swab, for instance, will often compress the earwax in your ear instead of getting rid of it, eventually causing a blockage).
It will usually call for professional eradication of the wax that has become hardened to the point that you can’t get rid of 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.