Can Earwax Buildup Cause Hearing Loss?

Pile of wooden cotton swabs

Wax and Hearing Loss

Cerumen (earwax) is a natural substance that keeps harmful debris and bacteria from your ear canal. Buildup can occur when this substance doesn’t correctly dry up and fall out of your ears. Multiple symptoms like dizziness, ringing in the ears, and pain can flare up when this happens. Everyone will experience earwax buildup at some point in their lifetime, but there is one extremely harmful byproduct resulting from an earwax buildup: hearing loss.

How can earwax buildup cause hearing loss? And what can you do to stop it before the damage becomes permanent? We’ll explain how wax builds up in your ear canal and how improper removal can result in long-term damage.

Hearing Loss from Wax Buildup

People are often shocked that this natural substance may cause damage if not safely removed. So, how does wax buildup cause hearing loss? For some people, the earwax fails to dry up and fall out on its own. A buildup can occur and obstruct sound from traveling through the ear canal when this happens. Hearing loss from wax buildup isn’t widespread, but it affects thousands of people every year. These people may not even discern a difference in their hearing until the accumulation is removed.

Can Earwax Cause Permanent Hearing Loss?

It can be hard to imagine that cerumen buildup can cause permanent damage. But, if allowed to continue, further damage can occur and lead to permanent hearing loss. Earwax that is not removed and allowed to build up can cause trauma to the ear canal. This damage can be hastened when people remove the wax from their ears using objects like Q-tips. These objects can push the wax further into the ear or cause damage to the canal itself.

How to Prevent Hearing Loss from Wax Buildup

The best way to prevent hearing loss from wax buildup is to work with your doctor. Avoid using tools like earwax picks and avoid burns from earwax candles. Instead, your doctor will recommend irrigation with a mixture of water and saline to dislodge any buildup.

If you receive irrigation and your hearing loss isn’t resolved, you may need an expert’s help. Amdahl Hearing offers high-quality services for hearing loss, including hearing tests, hearing aids, and other patient resources. Take our online hearing test, and schedule a consultation at one of our locations today.     

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.