Can hearing loss be caused by earwax?

It seems like earwax is on everybody's lips lately…..  Let’s start over without the corny pun, shall we?

Earwax seems to be a popular subject recently (we don’t know why, but videos of earwax cleaning are trending on social media), so we figured that today we’d take this perfect opportunity to address this very common question.

Can hearing loss be caused by earwax? Many different things can cause hearing loss. It can be caused by aging, medications, loud noises, and YES, also too much earwax. However, earwax alone is not commonly the only cause of hearing loss.

Complete blockage from earwax is not common

Soundwaves only require a very small opening in the ear canal to reach the eardrum. Therefore, even quite a bit of earwax blockage normally should not cause noticeable hearing loss.

However, if the ear canal is clogged tightly with earwax, and the cerumen impaction (the clinical way of saying “excessive earwax”) is drastic enough to cause hearing loss, more than likely there will be other signs and symptoms present. These could include dizziness, ear fullness (the sensation of clogged ears), itchiness, pain, and even ringing in the ears.

Total cerumen impaction is quite rare. If it does happen, rarely does it occur without the additional forewarning signs that “something is wrong”.

Why complete earwax blockage is so uncommon

The biggest reason why cerumen impaction doesn’t happen much is because our ears are mainly self cleaning, and — if left alone — will stop earwax from building to the point of total blockage.

However, like anything else, never say never. Obviously, there are things that can manifest into earwax blockage — like the incorrect use of cotton swabs, aging (specifically the elderly), narrow or uncommonly shaped ear canals, and even using the wrong methods to clean the ears. Normally, it is something that affects the normal outward flow of earwax.

Only allow hearing professionals to remove excessive earwax

If it just so happens that you begin noticing signs that “something is wrong” or you just have reason to believe your ears contain too much wax, visiting a medical professional is recommended and should be your next step. Many hearing professionals have the ability to perform cerumen removal in their office. Also, most doctors have the tools and ability to remove excessive earwax. (Please do not stick anything in your ears to clean them yourself! Check out our list of things you should and should not do to get rid of earwax).

If having your ears cleaned by a hearing healthcare professional corrects your hearing loss, that is wonderful! However, if that doesn’t help you, the same hearing professional should be able to figure out what’s contributing to your hearing loss and then help you treat it. That also will be wonderful!

Not sure where to find a hearing healthcare professional near you? Problem solved. Just call (888) 919-6824 or submit our Request An Appointment form here and we’ll help you find a local provider who can help.

By Starkey Canada

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