When you shower, always remember to clean your ears. It’s hard not to say that in your “parenting” voice. Maybe you even remember getting that advice as a child. That’s the kind of memory that can take you back to simpler times as you wrap yourself in the nostalgia of childhood.
But that advice can be rather helpful. Uncontrolled earwax accumulation can cause a significant number of issues, particularly for your hearing. And additionally, earwax can solidify inside your ear and become really hard 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 appealing of substances. That’s a viewpoint that most people share. But it is actually essential for the health of your ears. Created 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.
In other words, the right amount of earwax can help keep your ears clean and healthy. It may seem weird, but earwax doesn’t suggest poor hygiene.
The problems begin when your ears generate too much earwax. And, understandably, it can sometimes be a bit difficult to tell when a healthy quantity of earwax starts to outweigh its advantages (literally).
What is the impact of accumulated earwax?
So, what kind of impact does excess earwax have? There are several problems that could develop as a result of out-of-control earwax or earwax that accumulates over time. Those issues include:
- Infection: Infections can be the consequence of surplus earwax. If fluid builds up, it can become trapped behind impacted earwax.
- Tinnitus: When you hear ringing or buzzing that isn’t really there, you’re probably suffering from a condition called tinnitus. Tinnitus symptoms can show up or get worse when earwax accumulates inside your ear.
- Dizziness: Your inner ear is vital to your balance. You can suffer from bouts of dizziness and balance issues when your inner ear is having problems.
- Earache: An earache is one of the most common indications of excess earwax. It doesn’t have to hurt a lot (though, sometimes it can). This usually happens when earwax is causing pressure in places where it shouldn’t be.
These are only a few. Neglected earwax can cause painful headaches. If you wear hearing aids, excess earwax can impede them. This means that you might think your hearing aids are having problems when the real problem is a little bit too much earwax.
Can your hearing be impacted by earwax?
Well, yes it can. Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent problems linked to excess earwax. When earwax accumulates in the ear canal it causes a blockage of sound causing a form of hearing loss called conductive hearing loss. Your hearing will usually go back to normal after the wax is cleaned out.
But if the accumulation becomes extreme, long term damage can develop. The same is true of earwax-related tinnitus. It’s typically temporary. But the longer the excess earwax sticks around (that is, the longer you ignore the symptoms), the bigger the danger of long-term damage.
Prevention, treatment, or both?
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your earwax if you want to protect your hearing. It’s incorrect cleaning, not excess production that leads to buildup in most situations (for instance, blockage is frequently a result of cotton swabs, which will push the earwax further in instead of getting rid of it).
It will usually require professional eradication of the wax that has become hardened to the point that you can’t remove it. 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 correct way).