Hearing Associates of Libertyville, IL

Woman suffering from earwax blockage applying ear drops herself

Don’t neglect cleaning your ears. Whenever you say that, you inescapably use your “parent voice”. Perhaps you even recall getting that advice as a child. As you get wrapped up in past nostalgia, that kind of memory can take you back to simpler times.

But that advice can be pretty helpful. Your hearing can be substantially impacted by out-of-control earwax. And on top of that, earwax can harden up inside your ear and become really difficult to clean. Bottom line, you’ll be best off keeping those ears clean.

Excessive earwax? Eww!

Okay, earwax is not the most pleasing of substances. And we’re not going to attempt to change your mind about that. But it’s actually essential for your ear’s health. Earwax is made 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 seems, the reality is that earwax itself isn’t a sign of poor hygiene.

An excessive amount of earwax is where the trouble starts. And it can be rather difficult to know if the amount of earwax being generated is healthy or too much.

What is the consequence of accumulated earwax?

So, what type of impact does excess earwax present? There are numerous issues that could develop due to out-of-control earwax or earwax that builds up over time. Those problems include:

  • 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 issues.
  • Infection: Excessive earwax can lead to ear infections. If fluid accumulates, it can get trapped behind plugged earwax.
  • Tinnitus: Tinnitus is a condition where you hear a phantom ringing or buzzing in your ears. Earwax buildup can cause tinnitus symptoms to worsen or to appear.
  • 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 hurt a lot. This is usually a result of the earwax producing pressure someplace it shouldn’t.

These are only a few. Ignored earwax can cause painful headaches. Excessive earwax can interfere with the functionality of hearing aids. This means that you might think your hearing aids are malfunctioning when the real problem is a bit too much earwax.

Can your hearing be affected by earwax?

Well, yes it can. One of the most typical problems connected with excess earwax is hearing loss. Usually causing a form of conductive hearing loss, earwax builds up in the ear canal, preventing sound waves and vibrations from getting very far. Your hearing will typically return to normal after the wax is cleared out.

But there can be long-term damage caused by accumulated earwax, especially if the buildup gets severe enough. The same goes for earwax-related tinnitus. It’s usually 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 safeguard your hearing, then it makes sense to keep an eye on your earwax. In many instances, earwax accumulation is caused not by excessive production but by incorrect cleaning (a cotton swab, for instance, will often compact the earwax in your ear rather than getting rid of it, eventually causing a blockage).

It will often require professional removal of the wax that has become hardened to the point that you can’t remove it. You’ll be capable of starting to hear again after you get that treatment and then you can start over, cleaning your ears the correct way.

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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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