Ear Wax Buildup: What You Need to Know

Woman suffering from earwax blockage applying ear drops herself

When you take a shower, always remember to clean your ears. Whenever you say that, you inevitably use your “parent voice”. Perhaps you even remember getting that advice as a kid. As you get wrapped up in past nostalgia, that sort of memory can take you back to simpler times.

But that advice can be rather helpful. Uncontrolled earwax accumulation can cause a substantial number of issues, especially for your hearing. And additionally, earwax can solidify inside your ear and become really difficult to clean. In other words, the clearer you keep your ears, the better off you’ll be.

Excessive earwax? Eww!

Earwax is, well, sort of gross. That’s an opinion that most individuals share. But it’s actually essential for the health of your ears. Produced by special glands in your ear and churned outwards by the chewing motions of your jaw, earwax can help keep dust and dirt out of your ears.

In other words, the right amount of earwax can help keep your ears clean and healthy. It may seem peculiar, but earwax doesn’t suggest poor hygiene.

The problems start when your ears produce too much earwax. And it can be rather challenging to know if the amount of earwax being produced is healthy or too much.

What does excess earwax do?

So, what type of impact does excess earwax present? Earwax that gets out of hand and, over time, accumulates, can lead to a number of issues. Those problems include:

  • Tinnitus: Tinnitus is an affliction where you hear a phantom ringing or buzzing in your ears. Earwax accumulation can cause tinnitus symptoms to worsen or to emerge.
  • Infection: Infections can be the consequence of excessive earwax. In some cases, that’s because the earwax can trap fluid where it ought not to be.
  • Earache: One of the most prevalent signs of accumulated earwax is an earache. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt that much, and other times it can really hurt. This typically happens when earwax is creating pressure in places that it shouldn’t 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.

These are just a few. Headaches and discomfort can occur because of uncontrolled earwax accumulation. If you use hearing aids, excess earwax can impede them. This means that you may think your hearing aids are having problems when the real issue is a bit too much earwax.

Can earwax impact your hearing?

The short answer is yes. Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent issues connected to excess earwax. When earwax accumulates in the ear canal it produces a blockage of sound causing a kind of hearing loss called conductive hearing loss. The issue usually clears up when the earwax is eliminated, and normally, your hearing will go back to normal.

But if the accumulation becomes extreme, permanent damage can appear. And tinnitus is also usually 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. It’s improper cleaning, not excess production that causes buildup in most cases (for example, blockage is often a result of cotton swabs, which will push the earwax further in instead of removing it).

Frequently, the wax has gotten hard, dense, and unmovable without professional help. The sooner you get that treatment, the sooner you’ll be able to hear again (and the sooner you’ll be capable of cleaning your ears the correct way).


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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