What You Need to Know About Earwax Accumulation

Woman suffering from earwax blockage applying ear drops herself

Don’t neglect cleaning your ears. It’s difficult not to say that in your “parenting” voice. Maybe when you were a kid you even recall your parents telling you to do it. That’s the sort of memory that can remind you of simpler times as you wrap yourself in the nostalgia of childhood.

But that advice can be rather helpful. Out-of-control earwax buildup can cause a substantial number of issues, especially for your hearing. And additionally, earwax can harden up inside your ear and become really difficult to clean. In a nutshell, the clearer you keep your ears, the better off you’ll be.

Excessive earwax? Eww!

Earwax is, well, sort of gross. That’s a viewpoint that most individuals share. But it’s actually important for the health of your ears. Earwax is produced 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.

In other words, the ideal amount of earwax can help keep your ears clean and healthy. However counterintuitive it seems, the reality is that earwax itself is not a sign of poor hygiene.

The troubles start when your ears produce too much earwax. And, naturally, it can sometimes be a bit challenging to tell when a healthy amount of earwax starts to outweigh its advantages (literally).

What does excess earwax do?

So, what develops as a consequence of accumulated earwax? There are numerous problems that may develop due to out-of-control earwax or earwax that builds up over time. Those problems include:

  • Infection: Infections can be the consequence of surplus earwax. Sometimes, 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. Earwax accumulation can cause tinnitus symptoms to worsen or to emerge.
  • Earache: One of the most common signs of excess earwax is an earache. It doesn’t have to hurt a lot (though, sometimes it can). This usually happens when earwax is creating pressure in places that it shouldn’t be.
  • 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 be affected, causing dizziness.

This list is only the beginning. Headaches and pain can happen because of unchecked earwax buildup. Too much earwax can interfere with the functionality of hearing aids. So too much earwax might make you think your hearing aids are malfunctioning.

Can your hearing be affected by earwax?

Well, yes it can. Hearing loss is one of the most common problems linked to excess earwax. Normally producing a form of conductive hearing loss, earwax builds up in the ear canal, stopping sound waves and vibrations from getting in. Your hearing will usually go back to normal after the wax is cleaned out.

But if the accumulation becomes severe, permanent damage can happen. And tinnitus is also normally temporary but when earwax blockage persists, permanent damage can cause tinnitus to become an enduring condition.

Prevention, treatment, or both?

It’s a good plan to keep an eye on your earwax if you want to protect your hearing. It’s improper 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 instead of getting rid of it).

It will often call for professional eradication of the wax that has become solidified to the point that you can’t remove it. The sooner you receive that treatment, the sooner you’ll be able to hear again (and the sooner you’ll be capable of 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.