What You Should Know About Earwax Buildup

Woman suffering from earwax blockage applying ear drops herself

When you take a shower, always remember to wash your ears. It’s difficult not to say that in your “parenting” voice. Maybe you even remember getting that advice as a child. That’s the kind of memory that can take you back to simpler times as you wrap yourself in the nostalgia of youth.

But that advice can be rather helpful. Your hearing can be substantially impacted by out-of-control earwax. 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 isn’t the most pleasing of substances. And we’re not going to attempt to change your mind about that. But earwax does have a purpose. 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.

So your ears will remain clean and healthy when they produce the ideal amount of earwax. However counterintuitive it sounds, the reality is that earwax itself is not a sign of bad hygiene.

The problems start when your ears generate too much earwax. And it can be fairly challenging to know if the amount of earwax being produced is healthy or too much.

What does accumulated earwax do?

So, what develops as a consequence of excess earwax? There are several issues that may develop due to out-of-control earwax or earwax that builds up over time. Here are a few:

  • 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: One of the most prevalent signs of accumulated earwax is an earache. It doesn’t have to hurt a lot (though, in some cases it can). This is usually a result of the earwax producing pressure someplace it shouldn’t.
  • Infection: Excess earwax can lead to ear infections. In some cases, that’s because the earwax can trap fluid where it ought not to be.
  • Dizziness: Your inner ear is vital to your balance. You can suffer from episodes of dizziness and balance issues when your inner ear is having problems.

These are just a few. Neglected earwax can cause painful headaches. Excessive earwax can hinder the functionality of hearing aids. 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 issues connected with excess earwax is hearing loss. Normally causing a kind of conductive hearing loss, earwax accumulates in the ear canal, stopping sound waves and vibrations from getting very far. The problem normally goes away when the earwax is removed, and normally, your hearing will go back to normal.

But there can be sustained damage caused by excess earwax, especially if the buildup gets extreme enough. The same is true of earwax-caused tinnitus. It’s usually temporary. But the longer the extra earwax sticks around (that is, the longer you disregard the symptoms), the bigger the danger of long-term damage.

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 incorrect cleaning, not excess production that causes buildup in most instances (a cotton swab, for instance, will often compact the earwax in your ear instead of removing it, eventually causing a blockage).

Frequently, the wax has gotten hard, thick, and unmovable 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.