Hearing Health

Ear Wax Removal and Tinnitus – What You Need to Know

Ear wax (cerumen) is a naturally-occurring substance that helps keep ear canals clean, but too much ear wax build-up can lead to hearing loss and other symptoms including tinnitus.

Some individuals experience more noticeable tinnitus symptoms after having excess ear wax removed from their ears, due to it potentially blocking soundwaves from reaching the eardrum.

What is Ear Wax?

Earwax is an essential natural substance to maintaining healthy ears. Produced by your body as an immune defense mechanism against bacteria, dead skin cells and foreign objects infiltrating your ear canal, earwax also serves as a natural cleaning process, moving from inside out of your ear canal, picking up debris along the way before pushing it towards its opening where it eventually drops out of the ear canal – this is why it is best avoided using cotton swabs or pencil erasers or similar items that will lodge themselves inside.

Avoid self-treating earwax removal without seeking professional assistance, as the delicate ear canal and eardrum may be damaged if handled incorrectly. A health care provider is better qualified to safely and painlessly extract earwax using an irrigation device attached to a tube; their trained doctors provide fast, quick removal.

Many people view earwax buildup as part of the body’s natural process and don’t require treatment, however if symptoms such as tinnitus appear it is wise to consult a health care professional immediately as these signs could indicate another medical condition that requires further assessment by an ENT specialist.

If a doctor diagnoses you with excessive earwax, they will likely recommend several treatment options tailored specifically to you and your preferences. This may include over-the-counter softening drops or irrigation devices designed to flush away softened earwax after softening, irrigation systems that remove it, or simply applying mineral oil regularly into your ear canal.

Avoid self-treating with alternative methods such as ear candles which do not have scientific backing and can be very dangerous. At Hidden Hearing, we offer safe and effective earwax removal through gentle syringing or irrigation; once removed, your tinnitus should return to normal and hearing should be restored.

How Does Ear Wax Cause Tinnitus?

Ear wax provides an important service, helping to lubricate and protect ear canals against dryness and infection. Healthy ears typically produce their own natural supply of earwax that only needs to be removed occasionally by themselves. Therefore, good bathing habits must be followed in order to enable regular production and removal.

Over-accumulation of earwax impaction may contribute to tinnitus by impeding sound from travelling from ear canal to auditory cortex, often manifesting itself in buzzing or clicking noises that persist even while resting. Furthermore, excessive earwax may alter normal resonance of ear canal and how your brain processes sounds differently than usual.

Earwax is produced by glands located within the ear canal, comprised of epithelium (skin cells), dust, oily secretions from the skin of the ear canal and eardrum, oily secretions from oil glands within, dust from outside sources as well as oily secretions from oil glands of the outer ear, dust particles and oily secretions from within eardrum skin cells. When these components mix they create a thick mass which then falls naturally out of the canal via body’s natural circulation system. Lined by small bones which transport vibrations from outer ear into inner ear where vibrations are processed by auditory nerve before sound signals are transmitted by auditory nerve back out into brain interpretation; without an adequate supply of earwax the delicate components would become damaged from abrasions or even dust clogging them up completely.

Too often, people attempt to remove their earwax at home using cotton swabs or other too-small items that don’t reach deep into the ear canal – an ineffective practice that only serves to push deeper into it and potentially lead to issues like tinnitus and other health conditions. Hidden Hearing offers several safe and effective techniques such as Microsuction which uses a microscope for suction. If this happens to you, they also offer safe solutions like Microsuction which uses vacuum power instead.

Irrigation may also help, but only after softening earwax with cerumenolytic solutions or saline solutions. People with an history of perforations, tubes or surgery should avoid irrigation as an effective treatment option.

What is Ear Wax Removal?

Human ear canals are lined with hair-like sweat glands that produce sebaceous glands to produce cerumen, an oily waxy substance produced by sebaceous glands and secreted into the canal by sebaceous glands. As is typical with human ears, cerumen travels slowly towards the eardrum until reaching outside opening of ear. This process acts like a conveyor belt of waxy secretions moving toward drum until drying up at endpoint of canal. This natural process prevents earwax from clogging the ear canal and keeps your ears healthy. Once it dries, earwax usually falls off when dry or sometimes forms an impaction near the eardrum called an “impacted earwax”, causing significant discomfort or potentially leading to symptoms of tinnitus or impaired hearing. If you feel blocked sensation in your ears it is wise to visit healthcare provider immediately for diagnosis and treatment of the issue.

Your provider may recommend either home treatment or medical procedures to remove earwax. Home remedies could include using drops to soften earwax, or irrigating with rubber syringe. A doctor could use an operating microscope to view inside your ear canal and use a small, flexible instrument called a curet or suction to loosen and remove it from there.

Many people attempt to remove earwax on their own using cotton-tipped swabs or devices that purport to flush the ears, however these methods often just push more of it deeper into the ear canal and lead to blockages. A more effective home treatment involves dropping a few drops of plain water, saline solution or hydrogen peroxide in each ear with the head tilted in one direction for one or two minutes – then tilt the other way and let any leftover earwax drain out!

Some earwax buildup is common and should not be treated as a cause for alarm, however you should visit your physician if you’re over 55, have misshapen ear canals, or experience frequent buildup of earwax. Also get professional advice if you use hearing aids or earplugs regularly, have experienced blockage of your ear canal in the past, experience symptoms like fullness in the ears or hearing dripping noises in either of your ears.

Can Ear Wax Removal Help Tinnitus?

Symptoms of excess ear wax build-up in an ear canal include pain, fullness in the ear canal, loss of hearing and ringing (tinnitus). Earwax removal methods should only be attempted under medical guidance; home-use of water jets or similar techniques to flush out the canal may damage or push deeper into it leading to infection of an infection of your own eardrum and cause further blockages of wax accumulation.

Healthcare practitioners can safely remove earwax with the use of a small, curved instrument called a curet or suction. Doctors can also recommend treatments to alleviate symptoms associated with tinnitus and provide long-term relief.

Blocked ears may be caused by medications, health conditions and/or excess earwax build-up. It is essential that you seek professional assistance to identify the source of your tinnitus and recommend appropriate treatments.

Regular bathing and using earplugs can help those suffering from an accumulation of earwax to keep it under control, but for those experiencing tinnitus and blocked ears it may be wiser to see a specialist for their condition.

If your tinnitus is connected with stress or anxiety, exploring ways of managing it may be beneficial. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness techniques may help mitigate its adverse effect on quality of life.

Remind yourself that tinnitus can be caused by numerous things, and is typically treatable without surgery or other forms of management procedures. If you experience tinnitus and are worried about it, reach out to a healthcare provider immediately for guidance and treatment options. Medical professionals are available to offer advice and provide medications as needed. For those living with more persistent cases of tinnitus, devices can help manage the condition so you can lead a normal life. Hearing aids, tinnitus retraining therapy and other behavioral therapies may all provide relief from tinnitus symptoms. Tinnitus can be very distressful to experience and should be managed by a qualified health care provider so you are comfortable enough to enjoy life fully.

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