Don’t forget to wash your ears. It’s hard not to say that in your “parenting” voice. Perhaps when you were a kid you even remember your parents telling you to do it. As you get caught up in past nostalgia, that sort of memory can take you back to simpler times.
But that advice can be rather helpful. Uncontrolled earwax buildup can cause a significant number of issues, especially for your hearing. Still worse, this organic substance can solidify in place making it challenging to clean out. In other words, the cleaner you keep your ears, the better off you’ll be.
Excessive earwax? Eww!
We get it, earwax is not the most pleasing of materials. That’s a viewpoint that most individuals share. But earwax does have a purpose. Created by special glands in your ear and churned outwards by your jaw’s chewing motion, earwax can help keep dust and dirt out of your ears.
Essentially, the right amount of earwax can help keep your ears clean and healthy. It might seem weird, but earwax doesn’t indicate poor hygiene.
The problems begin 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 develops as a consequence of excess earwax? There are several issues that may develop due to out-of-control earwax or earwax that builds up over time. Here are a few:
- Infection: Excess earwax can lead to ear infections. If fluid accumulates, it can become trapped behind impacted earwax.
- Dizziness: Your ability to manage balance depends greatly on your inner ear. You can suffer from episodes of dizziness and balance issues when your inner ear is having issues.
- Tinnitus: Tinnitus is a condition where you hear a phantom ringing or buzzing in your ears. Earwax accumulation can cause tinnitus symptoms to worsen or to appear.
- Earache: One of the most prevalent signs of accumulated earwax is an earache. It doesn’t have to hurt a lot (though, in some cases it can). This is normally a result of the earwax creating pressure someplace it shouldn’t.
These are only a few. Headaches and pain can happen because of unchecked earwax buildup. If you use hearing aids, excess earwax can interfere with them. 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 affect your hearing?
The quick answer is yes. One of the most common problems connected with excess earwax is hearing loss. When earwax builds up in the ear canal it produces a blockage of sound causing a kind of hearing loss called conductive hearing loss. The problem usually goes away when the earwax is extracted, and usually, your hearing will go back to normal.
But if the buildup becomes severe, long term damage can appear. The same is true of earwax-caused tinnitus. It’s typically temporary. But the longer the excess earwax hangs around (that is, the longer you ignore the symptoms), the greater the danger 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 (for instance, blockage is frequently a result of cotton swabs, which tend to push the earwax further in rather than removing it).
Often, the wax has gotten hard, dense, and unable to clear without professional help. The sooner you receive that treatment, the sooner you’ll be capable of hearing again (and the sooner you’ll be capable of cleaning your ears the correct way).
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