When you take a shower, always remember to clean your ears. Whenever you say that, you inescapably use your “parent voice”. Maybe you even remember getting that advice as a kid. That’s the type of memory that can take you back to simpler times as you wrap yourself in the nostalgia of childhood.
But it’s also great advice. Your hearing can be significantly affected by an overabundance of earwax. And additionally, earwax can solidify inside your ear and become really hard to clean. Bottom line, you’ll be best off keeping those ears clean.
Excessive earwax? Eww!
Okay, earwax isn’t the most appealing of materials. 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 pushed 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 right amount of earwax. However counterintuitive it seems, the truth is that earwax itself is not a sign of bad 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 generated is healthy or too much.
What is the impact of accumulated earwax?
So, what kind of impact does excess earwax have? Earwax that gets out of control and, over time, builds up, can cause several problems. Those problems include:
- Earache: One of the most prevalent signs of excess earwax is an earache. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt that much, and other times it can really hurt. This is normally a result of the earwax creating pressure someplace it shouldn’t.
- Dizziness: Your ability to maintain balance depends greatly on your inner ear. You can suffer from bouts of dizziness and balance problems when your inner ear is having problems.
- Tinnitus: Tinnitus is an affliction where you hear a phantom buzzing or ringing in your ears. Tinnitus symptoms can show up or get worse when earwax accumulates inside your ear.
- Infection: Excessive earwax can lead to ear infections. In some cases, that’s because the earwax can lock in fluid where it ought not to be.
This list is only the beginning. Neglected earwax can cause painful headaches. If you use hearing aids, excess earwax can interfere with them. So excessive earwax may make you think your hearing aids are malfunctioning.
Can earwax impact your hearing?
Well, yes it can. Hearing loss is one of the most common issues linked to excess earwax. Normally causing a kind of conductive hearing loss, earwax builds up in the ear canal, stopping sound waves and vibrations from getting in. The problem usually goes away when the earwax is removed, and usually, your hearing will return to normal.
But there can be long-term damage caused by excess earwax, especially if the buildup gets severe enough. And tinnitus is also typically temporary but when earwax blockage persists, permanent damage can cause tinnitus to become a lasting condition.
Prevention, treatment, or both?
It’s a good plan to keep track of your earwax if you want to protect your hearing. It’s incorrect cleaning, not excess production that causes buildup in most situations (for example, blockage is frequently caused by cotton swabs, which tend to push the earwax further in rather than removing it).
Frequently, the wax has gotten hard, thick, and unable to clear without professional treatment. The sooner you get that help, the sooner you’ll be capable of hearing again (and the sooner you’ll be able to start cleaning your ears the right way).