Ear Wax Buildup: What You Should be Aware of

Woman suffering from earwax blockage applying ear drops herself

When you shower, always remember to clean your ears. Whenever you say that, you inevitably use your “parent voice”. Maybe when you were a kid you even recall 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 that advice can be pretty helpful. Your hearing can be substantially affected by out-of-control earwax. And additionally, earwax can solidify inside your ear and become really difficult to clean. Bottom line, you’ll be best off keeping those ears clean.

Excessive earwax? Eww!

Earwax is, well, sort of gross. And we’re not going to try to change your mind about that. But it is actually essential for your ear’s health. 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 dust and dirt.

So your ears will remain clean and healthy when they generate the ideal amount of earwax. However counterintuitive it sounds, the truth is that earwax itself isn’t a sign of poor hygiene.

An excessive amount of earwax is where the trouble begins. And it can be fairly difficult to know if the amount of earwax being produced is healthy or too much.

What is the impact of excess earwax?

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

  • Dizziness: Your ability to manage balance depends greatly on your inner ear. You can suffer from episodes of dizziness and balance problems when your inner ear is having issues.
  • 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 is built up inside your ear.
  • Infection: Infections can be the consequence of surplus earwax. If fluid accumulates, it can get trapped behind plugged earwax.
  • Earache: An earache is one of the most common symptoms of excess earwax. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt that bad, and other times it can really hurt. This is usually a result of the earwax producing pressure someplace it shouldn’t.

These are only a few. Headaches and pain can happen because of unchecked earwax buildup. If you use hearing aids, excess earwax can impede them. This means that you may think your hearing aids are having problems when the real problem is a little bit too much earwax.

Can earwax impact your hearing?

Well, yes it can. One of the most typical problems connected with excess earwax is hearing loss. Usually producing a kind of conductive hearing loss, earwax accumulates in the ear canal, preventing sound waves and vibrations from getting very far. Your hearing will typically go back to normal after the wax is cleaned out.

But if the accumulation becomes extreme, long term damage can appear. And tinnitus is also normally temporary but when earwax blockage persists, permanent damage can cause tinnitus to become a lasting condition.

Prevention, treatment, or both?

It’s a good idea to keep track of your earwax if you want to safeguard your hearing. In many circumstances, earwax accumulation is caused not by excessive production but by improper cleaning (a cotton swab, for instance, will often compact the earwax in your ear instead of removing it, eventually leading to a blockage).

Often, the wax has gotten hard, dense, and unable to clear without professional help. You’ll be able to start hearing again after you get that treatment and then you can start over, 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.