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Does Earwax Buildup Cause Hearing loss?

Your body naturally produces earwax, also known as cerumen, to protect the ears. Ear wax has antimicrobial and lubricating properties. An earwax obstruction is, in fact, the most prevalent cause of reduced hearing or temporary hearing impairment. When wax accumulates up to a certain level, it can become trapped in place and function as a barrier, preventing sound from reaching the inner ear as it should.

Many people have lots of concerns regarding earwax and they often ask us the following questions:

Does earwax cause hearing loss?

Does earwax buildup cause hearing loss?

Can earwax blockage cause permanent hearing loss?

Does ear wax blockage cause hearing loss?

And many more….

Yes, earwax can lead to a decreased hearing in the affected ear, but to a what extent

Let us explore…

Does earwax buildup cause hearing loss?

Cerumen, often known as earwax, is a naturally occurring substance that keeps dust and bacteria out of your ear canal. Earwax normally dries out and comes out on its own, but it can pile up and cause deafness in certain people. “This type of hearing loss is known as conductive hearing loss, and it can be remedied by removing the wax plug,” says Lilach Saperstein, AuD, Israel-based audiologist and host of the All About Audiology podcast.

Symptoms of earwax accumulation

  • Dizziness
  • Earache
  • a clogged feeling
  • ringing sensation in the ear
  • odor coming out of the ear

If you have an infection caused by earwax buildup, you may have the following symptoms:

  • The ear canal’s drainage
  • Fever
  • Itching in the ear

If earwax is not eliminated, it can cause ear damage and lead to permanent deafness. As per Leann Poston, MD, a doctor in Dayton, Ohio, earwax can be extremely detrimental for toddlers. “Even if it’s due to earwax, chronic deafness can induce speech delays in children,” explains Poston.

Earwax impaction

When earwax has piled up in the ear canal to the point that there are indicators something is not quite normal, we call it impacted earwax. It’s worth noting that the majority of people may never need to cleanse their ears. Ears are built to keep themselves clean. When individuals try to clean their ears with cotton buds or bobby pins, they often end up with earwax accumulation and obstruction. This merely pushes the earwax deeper into the ears and increases the risk of ear damage.

How to remove an earwax accumulation?

It’s not a great idea to use a Q-tip to remove earwax accumulation, specifically if you’re concerned about your hearing. However, if you believe that ear wax buildup is causing you to lose hearing, here is some expert advice on how to safely handle the issue.

One of the most vital factors to consider is that if you have an earwax obstruction, you should never try to wipe it out by putting something in your ear. Many individuals have developed the unpleasant habit of cleaning the inside of their ears with cotton buds or other small foreign items. Instead of helping, this typically pushes the earwax deeper into the ear, making the obstruction even more difficult to dislodge. Moreover, cotton buds and other things can hurt or injure the inside of the ear canal, causing infection and perhaps harming the eardrum and other sensitive areas of the ear.

The safest and most efficient way to remove an earwax obstruction and reverse deafness triggered by it is to get your ear cleaned by an ENT doctor. They may advise using over-the-counter ear drops prepared with glycerin, baby oil, or olive oil. A hole in your eardrum, on the other hand, can cause pain, infection, and deafness.

Risk factors

Anyone can get earwax accumulation. It’s thought to be present in roughly 10% of healthy children and 5 percent of healthy adults.

However, it is more likely to take place in the following:

  • People who usually make use of earplugs, earbuds, or hearing aids.
  • Those who have a lot of ear hair or who suffer from specific skin diseases.
  • Those who use cotton buds or other objects in their ears.
  • People who are older.
  • Individuals who have developmental impairments.
  • People whose ear canals are formed in a way that prevents natural wax clearance.

Bottom Line

Hearing impairment is a problem that can be treated in many circumstances. It is well worth your time and effort to obtain answers and treatment for yourself or a loved one.   Note that earwax isn’t harmful on its own. Its purpose is to keep your ears from becoming contaminated. But, if it accumulates, it can cause issues by itching your ears and making it difficult to hear. It’s only permissible to clean the exterior of the ears and soften the earwax with drops of water. If you need to clean earwax with an instrument, you should always visit your ENT Specialist doctor.



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