Don’t forget to wash your ears. It’s difficult 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 wrapped up in past nostalgia, that sort of memory can take you back to simpler times.
But it’s also excellent advice. Your hearing can be substantially affected by out-of-control earwax. And additionally, earwax can solidify inside your ear and become really hard to clean. In a nutshell, the clearer you keep your ears, the better off you’ll be.
Excessive earwax? Eww!
Earwax is, well, kind of gross. And we’re not going to attempt to change your mind about that. But it is actually important for your ear’s health. Earwax is made by glands inside of your ears and is then pushed out when you chew in order to keep your ears free of dirt and dust.
So your ears will remain clean and healthy when they generate the right amount of earwax. However counterintuitive it sounds, the truth is that earwax itself is not a sign of bad hygiene.
The problems begin when your ears generate too much earwax. And, understandably, it can sometimes be a bit challenging to tell when a healthy amount of earwax begins to outweigh its usefulness (literally).
What is the impact of excess earwax?
So, what kind of impact does excess earwax have? There are numerous issues that could develop due to out-of-control earwax or earwax that builds up over time. Here are a few:
- Infection: Infections can be the consequence of surplus earwax. If fluid builds up, it can become trapped behind impacted earwax.
- Dizziness: Your inner ear is vital to your balance. So when accumulated ear wax causes your inner ear to get out of whack, your balance can suffer, causing you to feel dizzy.
- Earache: One of the most common 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 creating pressure someplace it shouldn’t.
- Tinnitus: When you hear ringing or buzzing that isn’t actually there, you’re probably suffering from a condition called tinnitus. Tinnitus symptoms can show up or get worse when earwax accumulates inside your ear.
These are only a few. Neglected earwax can cause painful headaches. Too much earwax can hinder the functionality of hearing aids. 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 issues associated with excess earwax is hearing loss. Normally producing a form of conductive hearing loss, earwax accumulates in the ear canal, stopping sound waves and vibrations from getting in. Your hearing will typically return to normal after the wax is cleared out.
But if the buildup becomes severe, long term damage can develop. The same goes for earwax-related tinnitus. It’s normally temporary. But the longer the extra earwax sticks around (that is, the longer you ignore the symptoms), the bigger the risk 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 improper cleaning, not excess production that causes buildup in most situations (for example, blockage is frequently a result of cotton swabs, which will push the earwax further in instead of getting rid of it).
It will often require professional removal of the wax that has become solidified to the point that you can’t get rid of it. 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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