Ear Wax Accumulation: What You Should Understand

Woman suffering from earwax blockage applying ear drops herself

Don’t neglect cleaning your ears. It’s hard not to say that in your “parenting” voice. Maybe you even recall getting that advice as a child. As you get wrapped up in past nostalgia, that kind of memory can take you back to simpler times.

But that advice can be rather helpful. Out-of-control earwax buildup can cause a significant number of issues, especially for your hearing. And on top of that, earwax can solidify inside your ear and become really hard to clean. Bottom line, you’ll be best off keeping those ears clear.

Excessive earwax? Eww!

We get it, earwax isn’t the most appealing of materials. That’s a viewpoint that most people share. But earwax does have a purpose. Created by special glands in your ear and churned outwards by your jaw’s chewing motion, earwax can help keep dirt and dust out of your ears.

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.

The problems begin when your ears generate too much earwax. And, understandably, it can sometimes be a little bit difficult to tell when a healthy quantity of earwax starts to outweigh its usefulness (literally).

What is the consequence of excess earwax?

So, what kind of impact does excess earwax have? There are several issues that could develop as a result of out-of-control earwax or earwax that accumulates over time. Those problems include:

  • Tinnitus: Tinnitus is an affliction where you hear a phantom buzzing or ringing in your ears. Tinnitus symptoms can show up or get worse when earwax accumulates inside your ear.
  • Earache: One of the most common signs of accumulated earwax is an earache. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt that bad, and other times it can hurt a lot. This is typically a result of the earwax producing pressure someplace it shouldn’t.
  • Dizziness: Your inner ear is vital to your balance. So when accumulated ear wax causes your inner ear to have issues, your balance can be affected, causing you to feel dizzy.
  • Infection: Infections can be the consequence of surplus earwax. In some cases, that’s because the earwax can trap fluid where it shouldn’t be.

These are only a few. Headaches and discomfort can occur because of unchecked earwax buildup. Excess earwax can hinder the functionality of hearing aids. This means that you might think your hearing aids are having problems when the real issue is a little bit too much earwax.

Can your hearing be affected by earwax?

The quick answer is yes. One of the most typical issues connected with excess earwax is hearing loss. When earwax builds up in the ear canal it produces a blockage of sound causing a form of hearing loss called conductive hearing loss. Your hearing will typically go back to normal after the wax is cleared out.

But if the buildup becomes extreme, permanent damage can occur. The same is true of earwax-related tinnitus. It’s usually temporary. But the longer the excess earwax hangs around (that is, the longer you neglect the symptoms), the greater the danger of long-term damage.

Prevention, treatment, or both?

If you want to protect your hearing, then it seems logical to keep an eye on your earwax. It’s incorrect cleaning, not excess production that leads to buildup in most situations (for example, blockage is frequently a result of cotton swabs, which tend to push the earwax further in rather than getting rid of it).

It will often require professional eradication of the wax that has become hardened to the point that you can’t get rid of it. The sooner you receive that help, the sooner you’ll be able to hear again (and the sooner you’ll be capable of 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.