Ear Wax Removal Resources

The Connection Between Ear Wax and Hearing Loss

Though earwax is necessary, too much may block up the ear canal and lead to pain, fullness or ringing (known as tinnitus) as well as impaired hearing. If this happens, symptoms include headaches and impaired hearing as well as discomfort in the form of earaches or feeling fullness in your ears or even hearing impairment.

Earwax should be allowed to naturally move out of the ear canal without recourse to cotton swabs or any other at-home removal methods as these could push earwax further into its pathway.

Excessive Ear Wax

Ear wax, also known as cerumen in medical terms, is a naturally produced substance produced by our bodies to clean and protect our ears from dirt, dust and other irritants that could lead to infections in the ear canal. While most people’s experience is that this process works just fine for them, too much earwax build-up must be addressed since excessive build-up could impact hearing quality as well as quality of life.

Most often, earwax travels down into the opening where it is either washed away by the ear canal or shed on its own. However, for people with more natural earwax production or narrower canals who experience increased buildup of earwax that causes blockages in their ears this process may lead to further issues.

Do not attempt to remove earwax on your own as using objects such as cotton swabs, bobby pins or even napkin corners can actually push more wax deeper into the ear canal. If you decide to try home treatments for earwax removal such as candles that have proven dangerous.

People with certain health conditions, such as those who have recently undergone ear surgery or experienced perforations of the eardrum, may be more prone to having excessive earwax production than usual. Age and family history of hearing loss as well as problems like tinnitus may increase these chances further.

An otoscope allows doctors to quickly evaluate earwax for impact or symptoms by inspecting it with an instrument known as an otoscope. If your earwax is unimpeded by symptoms, you may be able to take steps yourself to prevent future issues by self-removing it with water in a syringe or medicated drops containing medicated solutions eardrop solution; just remember not to reach into your ear canal when doing this as this could result in infection; always consult with a health care provider first before undertaking this undertaking on their behalf as this could result in serious consequences; ask them how best you can safely do it without harming themselves or softening up hard earwax, making removal much simpler!

Impacted Ear Wax

Once earwax builds up to an extent where it becomes visible, it can lead to hearing loss. This could happen either because of blocked openings in the ear canal or hardening to block sound entering it.

Earwax impaction can be difficult to treat on your own, which is why consulting with a medical provider is vital if you suspect this may be the issue. They will be able to tell if it is by reviewing your medical history and performing a physical exam with hearing test as part of the assessment.

If you have had previous earwax blockage, your chances of it returning may increase in the future. If this occurs, be cautious of any attempts at home to remove earwax, as these could potentially do more harm than good. Professional removal via otoscope is the safest and most efficient solution; additionally it may even reverse any hearing loss caused by it.

Cotton swabs or other objects, like bobby pins or napkin corners, should never be used to attempt to remove earwax as this can push it deeper into your ear canal, leading to blockages. Furthermore, people wearing earbuds or having perforations in their eardrum are more prone to experiencing earwax impaction as well.

Other issues that can cause earwax impaction include age, genetic traits and the shape of your ear canal. As we age, earwax becomes stickier or drier while falling out is harder in narrower canals than normal. Furthermore, some individuals produce excessive earwax, necessitating frequent removal by healthcare providers via softening with saline solution, water or over-the-counter drops before removal by using an instrument called a curette.

Ear Infections

Middle ear infections can result in the buildup of fluid that interferes with hearing. This condition, known as Otitis Media with Effusion, often stems from viral or bacterial infection caused by colds or allergies and often results in sensations of fullness in the ears.

Clogged ear canals can prevent sound waves from reaching the eardrum and inner ear, one of the primary causes of Conductive Hearing Loss. Other symptoms may include ringing in the ears (tinnitus), dizziness or vertigo, balance issues and dizziness or vertigo.

Ear wax acts as a natural moisturizer for the ear canal, keeping it clean and lubricated while acting as a barrier against dirt and dust entering into the inner ear or drum.

Most healthy individuals produce enough earwax to keep their ears clean and protected; however, for some individuals their ear canal doesn’t produce enough or forms a type that makes removal difficult.

Over-the-counter earwax removers offer safe and effective methods of clearing away extra earwax, but you should never attempt to do it on your own using cotton swabs or fingertips to do it – this can compress it further into your ear canal, leading to blockages or worse yet causing blockage altogether.

If you have had or are at risk for earwax blockage, or are at an increased risk, speak to your physician about using saline drops or other products designed to clear away wax build-up from your ears. They may use microsuction or another manual method of removal such as curette.

Recent research indicates that an accumulation of earwax may interfere with memory, behavior and learning in dementia patients, so regular ear exams and use of wax-softening drops is advised in order to lessen earwax build-up in outer ear canals. If you reside in an assisted living facility, mobile hearing specialists may also offer their services in terms of cleaning earwax as well as conducting comprehensive ear exams and hearing tests to ensure your hearing health remains optimal.

Hearing Loss

Most people use ear wax as a protective shield, shielding their ear canal from moisture and infection. Specialized glands in the ears produce secretions which combine with dead skin cells to form earwax that gradually moves toward its entrance through jaw movement or canal size changes. If too much earwax forms in an ear canal, too much may build up and block off part or all of it, known as “impacted earwax,” becoming trapped and becoming impaction. Earwax impaction usually affects elderly individuals and those suffering dementia as these individuals may find it more difficult than usual to remove it themselves.

Repetitively trying to remove earwax with cotton swabs may actually make matters worse, stimulating production of even more wax from your body and contributing to blockages that can result in hearing loss and/or an infection in the ear canal.

An earwax blockage prevents sound waves from reaching the inner ear, leading to temporary hearing loss that can be remedied by clearing away excess wax, treating an infection or using hearing aids.

Hearing loss due to earwax buildup can be both frustrating and isolating for older adults who find difficulty communicating with family and friends. Furthermore, cognitive function may suffer, leading to behavioral problems and speeding up dementia development. Furthermore, having buildup prevents an audiologist or doctor from conducting tests to diagnose hearing loss and prescribe a hearing aid solution.

Many are unaware that earwax is an integral component of their ears’ health, making its removal an important healthcare professional service. Because the delicate canal and eardrum require professional removal of earwax, those with perforated or hole-filled eardrums or prior ear surgery should seek professional advice when trying to take this task on themselves; wax removal from candles should also be avoided as this may force more of it further down into the canal, leading to damage as well as burning off too quickly creating fire hazards.

About the Author

Picture of Ben Horlock Audiologist

Ben Horlock Audiologist

Ben Horlock RHAD MHSAA, is an accomplished audiologist deeply committed to delivering remarkable audiological services.

Get A Consultation

If you are having problems with your ears or hearing, book a consultation with our Audiologist.

Scroll to Top