When you take a shower, always remember to clean your ears. Whenever you say that, you unavoidably use your “parent voice”. Maybe when you were a kid you even remember 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 pretty helpful. Out-of-control earwax buildup can cause a substantial number of issues, particularly for your hearing. And additionally, earwax can harden up inside your ear and become really difficult to clean. In other words, the cleaner you keep your ears, the better off you’ll be.
Excessive earwax? Eww!
Okay, earwax isn’t the most pleasing of materials. That’s a viewpoint that most people share. But it is actually important for the health of your ears. Created by special glands in your ear and churned outwards by the chewing motions of your jaw, earwax can help keep dirt and dust out of your ears.
So your ears will stay clean and healthy when they produce the ideal amount of earwax. However counterintuitive it sounds, the reality is that earwax itself isn’t a sign of bad hygiene.
The troubles start when your ears produce too much earwax. And it can be somewhat difficult to know if the amount of earwax being produced is healthy or too much.
What is the consequence of accumulated earwax?
So, what happens as a consequence of excess earwax? There are numerous problems that could develop due to out-of-control earwax or earwax that builds up over time. Those issues include:
- Dizziness: Your ability to manage balance depends heavily on your inner ear. So when accumulated ear wax causes your inner ear to get out of whack, your balance can be affected, causing you to feel dizzy.
- Infection: Excess earwax can lead to ear infections. If fluid builds up, it can get trapped behind plugged earwax.
- Tinnitus: When you hear ringing or buzzing that isn’t really there, you’re usually suffering from a condition called tinnitus. Tinnitus symptoms can appear or get worse when earwax accumulates inside your ear.
- Earache: An earache is one of the most common indications of excess earwax. It doesn’t have to hurt too much (though, in some cases it can). This usually occurs when earwax is causing pressure in places where it shouldn’t be.
This list is just the beginning. Ignored earwax can trigger painful headaches. Too much earwax can hinder the functionality of hearing aids. So excessive earwax might make you think your hearing aids are malfunctioning.
Can earwax affect your hearing?
The quick answer is yes. One of the most typical problems associated with excess earwax is hearing loss. Usually causing a kind of conductive hearing loss, earwax accumulates in the ear canal, preventing sound waves and vibrations from getting very far. The problem normally goes away when the earwax is removed, and normally, your hearing will go back to normal.
But there can be long-term damage caused by excess earwax, particularly if the buildup gets severe enough. The same is true of earwax-related tinnitus. It’s typically temporary. But the longer the excess earwax hangs around (that is, the longer you disregard the symptoms), the bigger the risk of long-term damage.
Prevention, treatment, or both?
It’s a good idea to keep track of your earwax if you want to safeguard your hearing. It’s improper cleaning, not excess production that causes buildup in most cases (for example, blockage is often a result of cotton swabs, which tend to press the earwax further in rather than getting rid of it).
It will often call for professional eradication of the wax that has become hardened 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 correct way.