Does Earwax Buildup Cause Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss is known to have many causes, and with the advent of technology, such an occurrence can even be detected early on. While many people attribute it to old age, there is one that seems to be overlooked at times: earwax blockage.
Most people have heard about the correlation between earwax and hearing loss but have seen no need to address it. After all, it's just earwax, isn't it? It's sticky, brown, and can be quite annoying, but it's supposed to be there.
This nature of disregard and underestimation often leads to the condition; hence, it is important to be aware of it to avoid hearing loss as much as possible.
First of All, What Is an Earwax?
Cerumen, or earwax, is a sticky substance secreted by the ear to trap dust, bacteria, and other foreign particles that could cause irritation or lead to an infection in your ear.
Earwax is supposed to move to the outer ear and be wiped away. We do this because when we talk or chew, the movement of our jaw breaks up the earwax, as it should.
This is the normal process; however, things do not always go accordingly, placing your ear at risk of hearing loss.
How Does Earwax Blockage Occur?
An earwax blockage, or impaction, happens when too much earwax builds up and starts to block the ear. This wax is responsible for causing hearing loss, as it builds up so much that it blocks the hearing tube, or Eustachian tube, which carries air between your nose and your middle ear.
What Are the Signs and Possible Impacts of Earwax Blockage?
1. An Itchy Ear
One of the main signs of earwax blockage is an itchy ear. While it could be blamed on a mild case of an ear infection, it is, in fact, due to your body's attempt to get rid of the blockage, resulting in the irritation. The more you rub your ear, the more your body will try to eliminate the wax, making the itch even worse.
2. A Ringing in the Ear
The noise often resembles that of a dripping faucet or a low-pitched buzzing noise. The sound becomes louder and louder if you try to divert your attention from it. The sound is known as tinnitus, caused by a blocked hearing tube.
3. An Earache
An earache, both temporary and chronic, is an indicator of a wax blockage. The pain can be throbbing or constant, and it can be directly related to the ear or the entire head. It is a painful condition that is best treated in order to avoid a concussion or even a full-blown infection.
4. A Bad Smell in the Ear
A bad smell that leads to an increased sense of hearing loss and negatively impacts your ear's efficiency is a sign that an earwax blockage is present.
5. A Feeling of Pressure in the Head
This is another symptom of an earwax blockage, and it is often the most obvious one. It is a dull but constant throbbing pain that adds to the sensation of an earache.
Stop Using a Cotton Swab to Clean the Inside of Your Ear
Many people assume that cotton swabs are designed to be placed into the ear canals. That, however, is completely incorrect because the earwax that forms inside and around your ear is vital for keeping your ears clean.
Using a cotton swab in your ear could push wax deeper into the ear canal, causing an obstruction. As a result, wax buildup in your ear can adversely impair your hearing and balance.
Instead, consider using this safer alternative to q-tips for easy war wax removal. Click the images below for more information.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these conditions, it is best to see a doctor. They will be able to determine if the cause of your condition is an earwax blockage and will treat it accordingly or get you to an ear specialist who can perform the earwax removal procedure for you.
Deal with the early signs of earwax blockage now and avoid the occurrence of hearing loss.
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