Does Surplus Ear Wax Have an Effect on Your Hearing?

Contra Costa Hearing Blog

What most people call ear wax develops because our ear canals are covered with hair follicles and glands that produce an oily wax called cerumen. This wax lines the interior surface of the ear canal and helps to protect it by attracting and gathering foreign particles like dust and dirt, bacteria, and various microorganisms. Ear wax also helps to prevent irritation when the sensitive skin of the ear canal is exposed to moisture; There is absolutely nothing unnatural or unhealthy about ear wax or the production of it.

Ordinarily, ear wax gradually makes its way to the opening of the ear, where it comes out by itself or is removed when we wash our ears. In certain people, however, the glands in their ear canals generate more ear wax than is usual. This extra ear wax can accumulate in the ear canal and become hard, creating a blockage that prevents sound waves from reaching your eardrum. For that reason, the accumulation of excess ear wax is, for individuals of every age, one of the most common reasons for hearing difficulties.

Symptoms of ear wax blockage include things like earaches, a sense that the ear is stopped up, a consistent ringing noise (), and partial loss of hearing, which has a tendency to get gradually worse. This kind of hearing loss is referred to as conductive, since the sound waves are hindered from reaching the eardrum, as opposed to sensorineural, as the consequence of some physiological flaw. Fortunately, this cause of hearing loss is easily diagnosed and treated.

For those who have suffered some or all of the signs and symptoms previously mentioned, come in to our practice where our specialists can easily and painlessly determine if the cause is a build up of ear wax. If this is the case, there are straightforward treatment options to get rid of the surplus ear wax that can be done either at home, or in the office.

If a hearing instrument specialist diagnoses you as having earwax blockage, there are things you can do in your own home to remove it. Don’t attempt to use a cotton swab, which can cause the ear wax to become even more compacted. A better home remedy is to add drops of mineral oil, glycerin, baby oil, or commercial ear drops to each ear, let them loosen the wax buildup, and then wash it out using water at body temperature. (Hot or cold water can cause feelings of vertigo or dizziness.) Drug stores offer small bulb-like syringes which you can use to irrigate the ear after the wax has been loosened, facilitating the process. Do not try to use a WaterPik or any other jet irrigator designed for the teeth because the pressure of the spray could harm the eardrum, and don’t attempt any form of irrigation at home if you believe that your eardrum has been punctured.

If this doesn’t seem to work to clear up the buildup of ear wax, come see us.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Schedule an appointment to see if hearing aids could benefit you.