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Utah: 435-688-8991 Nevada: 702-896-0031

Excessive Wax Buildup: How it Affects Your Hearing and What to Do About it

If you feel your hearing isn’t what it should be, the problem could be as simple as a buildup of ear wax. Your ear canal if full of tiny glands and hair follicles. As a protection mechanism, these glands and follicles produce and excrete the waxy substance we know as ear wax, or cerumen.

Ear wax is produced to prevent foreign particles such as dust and water, along with microorganisms like bacteria from entering the ear. Under normal circumstances, this cerumen does a good job of keeping your ear safe from the damage these foreign bodies can cause. Usually, excess ear wax makes its way toward the outer ear, where it falls away or is rinsed out when you shower.

___excessive_wax_buildup-_how_it_effects_your_hearing_and_what_to_do_about_it___When Earwax Builds Up

However, some people are prone to overproduction of cerumen. This excess wax sometimes remains in the ear canal, where it hardens and blocks the passage. Often, this waxy buildup is pushed deeper into the ear canal during an attempted cleaning.

As one of the most common causes of temporary hearing loss, impacted ear wax usually manifests itself in the following ways:

  • Earache
  • Tinnitus or strange noises in the ear
  • A sensation of fullness in the ear canal
  • Partial and potentially worsening hearing loss

What to Do About it

If you feel you have a build-up of excess ear wax, you may be able to address the problem at home. Many ear, nose, and throat specialists recommend commercial ear drops or irrigation kits to loosen and soften the wax; just be sure to follow the instructions carefully.

If you experience pain or feel you may have a perforated eardrum (shown by fluid loss and hearing problems), you should see a doctor before using any of these products. Using irrigation or ear drops with a perforated eardrum can cause infection and other trauma to the ear. Under no circumstances should you use cotton swabs or jet-style irrigators in your ears; doing so means risking significant damage to the delicate internal structures.

When to See a Doctor

If you believe you have wax buildup that you cannot remove, or you experience any discomfort, it’s important to see an ear specialist as soon as possible. They can help you remove the stubborn wax with special tools, as well as diagnose any underlying or resulting conditions that could affect your hearing and ear health.

Though it is a fairly common problem, ear wax buildup can cause complications such as infection or long-term hearing loss if left untreated. If you have concerns, contact an ear specialist before taking any action on your own. They can instruct you in the proper procedure, and recommend an exam, if necessary.

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