Learn to Recognize the Symptoms of Earwax Impaction

Earwax is healthy at normal levels, but when it accumulates, it can cause serious problems. When the wax builds up enough to impact your ears, your symptoms could range from bothersome pain to potentially severe hearing loss.

For more information about earwax impaction, contact us at Professional Hearing Aid Service. In the meantime, take a few moments to learn about the condition and its symptoms, starting with the basics.

Earwax starts with good intentions

Ears are designed to clean themselves, so most people don’t need to clean them out manually. If you do attempt to clear wax away with cotton swabs or bobby pins, you run a higher risk of earwax impaction. About 12 million people in the United States seek medical care for the condition each year.

Other factors that may contribute include:

Impaction can cause physical discomfort

As wax builds up in your ear, you’re likely to experience a range of uncomfortable physical symptoms, such as:

Earwax impaction can affect your hearing

In addition to physical sensations, earwax buildup can make it more difficult to hear. Without proper care, these hearing challenges may start out pretty mild and then gradually worsen.

You can also develop tinnitus, or a ringing sound in your ears, from earwax impaction. This, too, can detract from your ability to hear normally.

Discharge, odor

As earwax accumulates, causing blockage, bacteria can build up as well. This can lead to a watery discharge and a foul smell in your ears.

Because these symptoms can also indicate conditions such as a sinus infection, proper diagnosis from your doctor is important.

Cough, dizziness

While they may not seem obviously related, coughing and feeling dizzy can both derive from earwax impaction. A cough isn’t the most common symptom, but it can happen as a result of a nerve issue within the ear.

Also, because your inner ears play an important role in your sense of stability and balance, earwax impaction can also lead you to feel dizzy, as though your surroundings are spinning or a bit off-kilter.

Earwax impaction is very treatable

Diagnosing earwax impaction typically involves a comprehensive exam, where you discuss your symptoms and medical history. Your doctor also exams your ears.

When treatment is necessary, it may include a liquid medication you drop into your ear canal for a set time frame; irrigation of the ear canal by your doctor; or manual removal, performed with special tools at your provider’s office.

If you’re not sure whether you might benefit from an exam or treatment for earwax impaction, contact our office. We would love to get you on the road to greater comfort, ease, and hearing.

 

You Might Also Enjoy...

How to Tell if You Have Tinnitus

You may think you’re going crazy, but the ringing and humming only you can hear may be a sign of tinnitus. Though not usually caused by a serious health issue, the phantom sounds can affect your quality of life and should be evaluated and treated.

Adjusting to Life With Hearing Aids

Adjusting to life with hearing aids can be somewhat more involved than other assistive devices, like eyeglasses. The programming, flexibility, and options afforded by contemporary hearing aids make better hearing a truly customized experience.

Top Causes of Hearing Loss and How to Avoid Them

Your hearing is at risk every day — and from many sources. You can, however, take steps to protect your ears from the many common threats to your hearing that can accumulate over time. Not all hearing loss is avoidable, but you can reduce your risk.

How to Know If You Need Cerumen Removal

The buildup of cerumen, or earwax, in your ears can cause temporary hearing loss, dizziness, or even infection. An audiologist or family doctor can clear excess earwax quickly and painlessly during a short office visit.

What Causes Tinnitus (And What Can I Do About It)?

Phantom sounds that you seem to hear, but which aren’t coming from the world around you are part of an issue called tinnitus. A symptom of physical or medical conditions, including hearing loss or injury, tinnitus sounds can be a major distraction.