Woman suffering from earwax blockage applying ear drops herself

Don’t neglect cleaning your ears. It’s difficult 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 remind you of simpler times as you wrap yourself in the nostalgia of youth.

But that advice can be rather helpful. Your hearing can be significantly affected by out-of-control earwax. 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!

Earwax is, well, sort of gross. That’s an opinion that most people share. But it is actually essential for your ear’s health. Earwax is manufactured by glands in 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 generate the ideal amount of earwax. However counterintuitive it sounds, the reality is that earwax itself is not a sign of poor hygiene.

The problems begin 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 result of accumulated earwax? There are several problems that may arise due to out-of-control earwax or earwax that accumulates over time. Those issues include:

  • Earache: An earache is one of the most prevalent signs of excess earwax. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt that much, and other times it can hurt a lot. This usually happens when earwax is causing pressure in places that it shouldn’t be.
  • Infection: Excessive earwax can lead to ear infections. If fluid builds up, it can become trapped behind plugged earwax.
  • Dizziness: Your ability to maintain balance depends heavily on your inner ear. You can suffer from episodes of dizziness and balance issues when your inner ear is having issues.
  • Tinnitus: When you hear ringing or buzzing that isn’t actually there, you’re usually dealing with a condition called tinnitus. Tinnitus symptoms can show up or get worse when earwax is built up inside your ear.

These are just a few. Neglected earwax can trigger painful headaches. Excess earwax can interfere with the functionality of hearing aids. This means that you may think your hearing aids are malfunctioning when the real issue is a bit too much earwax.

Can earwax affect your hearing?

Well, yes it can. Hearing loss is one of the most common problems connected to excess earwax. Normally producing a form of conductive hearing loss, earwax accumulates in the ear canal, stopping sound waves and vibrations from getting in. The issue usually clears up when the earwax is extracted, and usually, your hearing will go back to normal.

But there can be sustained damage caused by accumulated earwax, especially if the buildup gets extreme enough. The same is true of earwax-related tinnitus. It’s usually not permanent. But the longer the extra earwax sticks around (that is, the longer you neglect the symptoms), the bigger the danger of long-term damage.

Prevention, treatment, or both?

If you want to protect your hearing, then it makes sense to keep an eye on your earwax. In many circumstances, earwax accumulation is caused not by excessive production but by incorrect cleaning (for example, blockage is frequently a result of cotton swabs, which will push the earwax further in rather than removing it).

Frequently, the wax has gotten hard, dense, and unmovable without professional treatment. The sooner you receive 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).

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