What You Should Know About Earwax Accumulation

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 when you were a child you even recall your parents telling you to do it. That’s the type of memory that can take you back to simpler times as you wrap yourself in the nostalgia of youth.

But it’s also good advice. Uncontrolled earwax buildup can cause a substantial number of issues, particularly for your hearing. Still worse, this organic compound can harden in place making it challenging to clean out. Bottom line, you’ll be best off keeping those ears clean.

Excessive earwax? Eww!

We get it, earwax is not the most pleasing of materials. That’s an opinion that most individuals share. But it is actually important for your ear’s health. Produced by specialized glands in your ear and churned outwards by your jaw’s chewing motion, 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. It may seem peculiar, but earwax doesn’t indicate poor hygiene.

Too much earwax is where the problem begins. And it can be fairly difficult to know if the amount of earwax being created is healthy or too much.

What does accumulated earwax do?

So, what kind of impact does excess earwax have? There are numerous problems that could develop as a result of out-of-control earwax or earwax that accumulates over time. Those issues include:

  • Earache: An earache is one of the most common symptoms of excess earwax. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt that much, and other times it can really hurt. This usually occurs when earwax is causing pressure in places that it shouldn’t be.
  • Dizziness: Your inner ear is essential to your balance. So when excess ear wax causes your inner ear to get out of whack, your balance can be affected, causing dizziness.
  • Infection: Infections can be the consequence of excessive earwax. In some cases, that’s because the earwax can lock in fluid where it ought not to be.
  • 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.

These are just a few. Headaches and pain can happen because of unchecked earwax buildup. Too much earwax can interfere with 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 your hearing be affected by earwax?

Well, yes it can. Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent issues linked to excess earwax. When earwax accumulates in the ear canal it causes a blockage of sound causing a kind of hearing loss called conductive hearing loss. The issue normally goes away when the earwax is eliminated, and normally, your hearing will go back to normal.

But if the buildup becomes extreme, permanent damage can occur. And tinnitus is also typically temporary but when earwax blockage lingers, long-term damage can cause tinnitus to become a lasting condition.

Prevention, treatment, or both?

If you want to safeguard your hearing, then it seems logical to keep an eye on your earwax. In many circumstances, earwax buildup is caused not by excessive production but by incorrect cleaning (a cotton swab, for example, will often compact the earwax in your ear instead of getting rid of it, eventually leading to a blockage).

Often, the wax has gotten hard, thick, and unmovable without professional treatment. The sooner you get that treatment, the sooner you’ll be capable of hearing again (and the sooner you’ll be able to start cleaning your ears the correct way).


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.