Do you have a sudden loss of hearing or ringing in your ears? Do you feel a heaviness in your ears or notice a wax build-up? You may have earwax compacted and pressed against your eardrum, causing these issues. That’s why sometimes treating hearing loss is as simple as removing ear wax.
Earwax (cerumen), that yellowy brownish waxy substance secreted in your ear canal, is there for a reason. Its purpose is to clean and protect the sensitive skin of your ear canal and keep it free from debris, bacteria, and water. When excess wax is present, it will typically flow out of the canal and into the ear opening, where it is washed away.
Your glands can make things worse by creating more earwax than is necessary. This has the potential to get hard and block the ear. In spite of your best efforts to clean it out, you may accidentally push the wax deeper, which can cause a blockage. This simple wax buildup is a frequent reason for temporary hearing loss.
Attempting to remove earwax build-up yourself should be done with caution. If a gentle approach to earwax management doesn’t seem to do the job, schedule an appointment with our experts here at El Dorado Hearing. We’ll get you in as soon as possible and use a painless treatment to help restore your hearing.
Earwax Buildup Causes
Even if you have too much earwax, it doesn’t automatically mean you’ll end up with a blockage. Typically, the cause of an earwax blockage is people being too aggressive with attempts to remove the wax themselves. Instead of pulling it out, the earwax is clumped together and pushed deeper into the ear canal.
Another reason for wax buildup is the widespread use of headphones. Specifically, earbuds that enter the ear canal opening can prevent earwax from coming out, resulting in a blockage.
Signs You Might Have Earwax Buildup
- You have an earache
- Partial hearing loss, which happens suddenly
- Tinnitus (a ringing, hissing, buzzing, roaring, or clicking noise in the ear)
- Your ear feels full or heavy
If left to build up, excess earwax can lead to an infection. Seek medical attention if you are experiencing serious symptoms such as:
- Moderate to severe ear pain, which won’t relent
- If you see drainage coming from your ear
- A persistent cough or fever
- Continued hearing loss
- A foul smell coming from your ear
- Balance issues and dizziness
Getting Rid of Excess Earwax
If you believe you have substantial earwax buildup or earwax impaction, we advise you not to tackle this at home. Going after the wax with cotton swabs and tweezers could cause significant damage to your inner ear, an infection, or even loss of hearing.
If the earwax hasn’t built up to unsafe proportions, you may remove it yourself. You’ll only want to use high-quality cotton swabs working primarily on the outer ear.
Use a Softener
You can soften earwax to make it easier to remove. Taking a hot shower will soften the wax. Then use over-the-counter drops to remove wax. You can also use these substances to help soften earwax:
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Baby oil
- Carbamide peroxide
- Mineral oil
Irrigate That Ear
If ear drops don’t work, you can try irrigating the ear to remove the excessive wax. If you know you have an ear injury, do not irrigate.
To avoid injury while properly irrigating your ear, read the directions of your over-the-counter kit or use the following tips:
- Hold your head in an upright position.
- Grip the upper part of your outer ear and pull it upward gently.
- With a non-hypodermic syringe, guide a stream of body-temperature water into your ear.
- Let excess water drain, and after a few seconds, tip your head to allow the rest of the water to drain.
It may have to repeat this procedure several times to free up the excess wax. Doing this routinely will help prevent earwax buildup and blockages.
If you feel you are dealing with hearing loss because of excess ear wax, call our team at El Dorado Hearing to schedule a visit. We’ll investigate your hearing problem, unplug your ears right away, and help you manage ear wax if wax is the culprit. Don’t let a simple problem with ear wax ruin even one more day.