What You Should Understand About Earwax Accumulation

Woman suffering from earwax blockage applying ear drops herself

When you shower, always remember to clean your ears. Whenever you say that, you unavoidably use your “parent voice”. Perhaps when you were a child you even recall your parents telling you to do it. As you get caught up in past nostalgia, that kind of memory can take you back to simpler times.

But it’s also excellent advice. Out-of-control earwax buildup can cause a substantial number of problems, especially for your hearing. And additionally, earwax can solidify inside your ear and become really hard to clean. In other words, the clearer you keep your ears, the better off you’ll be.

Excessive earwax? Eww!

We get it, earwax is not the most appealing of materials. That’s a viewpoint that most individuals share. But earwax does have a purpose. 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 stay clean and healthy when they generate the right amount of earwax. It might seem strange, but earwax doesn’t indicate poor hygiene.

Too much earwax is where the problem starts. And it can be fairly challenging to know if the amount of earwax being generated is healthy or too much.

What is the consequence of excess earwax?

So, what happens as a result of excess earwax? Earwax that gets out of hand and, over time, builds up, can lead to a number of issues. Those problems include:

  • Tinnitus: Tinnitus is an affliction where you hear a phantom ringing or buzzing in your ears. Earwax buildup can cause tinnitus symptoms to worsen or to emerge.
  • Earache: An earache is one of the most common signs of excess earwax. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt that much, and other times it can really hurt. 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 suffer, causing dizziness.
  • Infection: Excessive earwax can lead to ear infections. If fluid accumulates, it can get trapped behind plugged earwax.

This list is just the beginning. Neglected earwax can cause painful headaches. If you wear hearing aids, excess earwax can impede them. This means that you might think your hearing aids are having problems when the real problem is a bit too much earwax.

Can your hearing be affected by earwax?

Well, yes it can. Hearing loss is one of the most common problems linked to excess earwax. When earwax accumulates in the ear canal it produces a blockage of sound causing a kind of hearing loss called conductive hearing loss. The problem usually clears up when the earwax is removed, and normally, your hearing will return to normal.

But if the buildup becomes severe, long term damage can appear. The same goes for earwax-related tinnitus. It’s typically temporary. But the longer the excess earwax hangs around (that is, the longer you neglect the symptoms), the greater the risk of long-term damage.

Prevention, treatment, or both?

It’s a good idea to keep track of your earwax if you want to safeguard your hearing. It’s improper cleaning, not excess production that leads to buildup in most instances (a cotton swab, for example, will frequently compress the earwax in your ear instead of removing it, eventually causing a blockage).

Often, the wax has gotten hard, dense, and unmovable without professional treatment. You’ll be capable of starting to hear again after you get that treatment and then you can start over, cleaning your ears the right 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.