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Can ear wax buildup lead to hearing loss

5 June 2023

Posted by

Lauren Land

0330 3203 413

Understanding Ear Wax Buildup and Hearing Loss

Ear wax buildup is a common issue that can lead to hearing loss if left untreated. Regular ear cleaning can prevent complications, and audiologists play a crucial role in ear wax removal. Proper ear care is essential for maintaining hearing health, as ear wax protects the ear from dust and debris. However, excessive ear wax can block the ear canal, leading to symptoms such as pain, ringing, and hearing loss.

Audiologists use specialised tools for safe and effective ear wax removal, resulting in improved hearing, reduced risk of ear infections, and prevention of further hearing loss. Enhanced comfort and ear hygiene contribute to better communication, increased confidence in social situations, and improved quality of life. Greater enjoyment of music and other sounds is also a benefit of proper ear care.

Ear wax is a natural substance the body produces, and most people make enough to maintain ear health. However, ear wax buildup can occur for various reasons, including age and genetics. Cotton swabs can exacerbate the problem by pushing ear wax further into the ear canal. Regular checkups with an audiologist can help monitor ear health and detect potential issues early. Statistics show that 1 in 10 children experience ear wax buildup, 1 in 20 adults suffer from excessive ear wax, and 35% of people over 65 have impacted ear wax. Ear wax removal appointments have increased by 50% in recent years, highlighting the importance of professional ear wax removal for safe and effective treatment. Audiologists can provide personalised advice for ear care, ensuring that regular checkups help detect and prevent hearing issues early on.

What is Ear Wax and How Does it Build Up?

Ear wax, also known as cerumen, is a natural substance produced by the glands in the ear canal. It serves as a protective barrier against dust, debris, and bacteria, helping to maintain the health of the ear. Ear wax is composed of a mixture of dead skin cells, sweat, and oil secreted by the ceruminous and sebaceous glands. The production of ear wax is a normal physiological process, and its presence is essential for maintaining the cleanliness and overall health of the ear.

The buildup of ear wax occurs when the natural process of wax migration is disrupted, leading to an accumulation of wax in the ear canal. This can be caused by various factors, such as cotton swabs, hearing aids, or earplugs, which can push the wax further into the ear canal. Additionally, some individuals may produce excessive amounts of ear wax due to genetic factors or certain medical conditions.

The effects of ear wax buildup on hearing health can be significant. When excessive ear wax accumulates, it can cause a blockage in the ear canal, leading to a temporary reduction in hearing ability. This can result in muffled sounds, difficulty understanding speech, and even tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Moreover, ear wax impaction can lead to ear infections, as the trapped wax creates a conducive environment for bacterial growth. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain proper ear hygiene and seek professional help when experiencing ear wax buildup symptoms. At Sussex Audiology, our expert audiologists provide safe and effective ear wax removal services, ensuring optimal hearing health for our clients.

Symptoms of Ear Wax Buildup

Ear wax buildup symptoms can vary, but they generally include a range of auditory and physical discomforts. One of the most common symptoms is a gradual decrease in hearing, as wax buildup obstructs the ear canal and prevents sound waves from reaching the eardrum. This can lead to difficulty understanding speech, particularly in noisy environments, and may affect 12-20% of adults.

Another common symptom is tinnitus, a persistent ringing or buzzing in the ear, which affects approximately 10-15% of adults. Ear wax buildup can exacerbate this condition by further obstructing the ear canal. Additionally, individuals may experience earaches or a sensation of fullness or pressure in the ear, which can be particularly uncomfortable and may lead to dizziness or balance issues.

In some cases, ear wax buildup can cause infection or inflammation, resulting in pain, discharge, and even fever. It is essential to address these symptoms promptly, as untreated infections can lead to more severe complications. By choosing Sussex Audiology, clients can benefit from our expertise in diagnosing and treating ear wax buildup, ensuring optimal ear health and improved quality of life. Our professional audiologists utilise advanced techniques and equipment to safely and effectively remove ear wax, relieving these uncomfortable symptoms and restoring clear hearing.


How Ear Wax Buildup Can Lead to Hearing Loss


Ear wax, also known as cerumen, is a natural substance produced by the glands in the ear canal. It serves as a protective barrier against dust, debris, and bacteria, ensuring the overall health of the ear. However, excessive ear wax buildup can lead to hearing loss and other complications. 

Regular ear cleaning is essential for maintaining optimal ear health and preventing ear wax buildup. The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery recommends cleaning the outer ear with a cloth and avoiding using cotton swabs or other objects that may push the wax further into the ear canal. Over-the-counter ear drops can also be used to soften the wax, making it easier to remove.

Professional ear wax removal is a safe and effective method for addressing excessive ear wax buildup. Audiologists, like those at Sussex Audiology, are trained in the latest techniques for ear wax removal, including microsuction and irrigation. Microsuction is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a small vacuum to gently remove the impacted wax, while irrigation involves flushing the ear canal with warm water to dislodge the wax. Both methods are safe and effective, with a success rate of over 90% in restoring hearing and alleviating symptoms associated with ear wax impaction.

In conclusion, maintaining overall ear health is crucial for preventing hearing loss and other complications related to ear wax buildup. Regular ear cleaning and professional ear wax removal services, such as those offered by Sussex Audiology, can help ensure optimal ear health and prevent the adverse effects of excessive ear wax buildup. By investing in your ear health, you are proactively preserving your hearing and overall well-being.

The Connection Between Ear Wax Buildup and Tinnitus

Ear wax buildup and tinnitus share a complex relationship. Tinnitus, characterised by a persistent ringing or buzzing in the ears, affects approximately 15-20% of the population. Studies have shown that excessive ear wax, or cerumen impaction, can contribute to developing or exacerbating tinnitus symptoms. Research indicates that nearly 12% of tinnitus cases are associated with impacted ear wax.

Regular ear cleaning is essential for maintaining optimal ear health and preventing tinnitus. Safe ear wax removal methods, such as microsuction or manual extraction performed by a professional audiologist, can help alleviate tinnitus symptoms caused by ear wax buildup. These methods are preferred over cotton swabs or ear candling, which can push wax further into the ear canal or cause damage to the eardrum.

Professional audiologist consultations are crucial in managing tinnitus and overall ear health. Audiologists can assess the severity of ear wax buildup, recommend appropriate treatment options, and provide guidance on preventative measures to reduce the risk of tinnitus. Furthermore, they can offer personalised advice on managing existing tinnitus symptoms and addressing any underlying causes, such as hearing loss or exposure to loud noises. You can effectively alleviate tinnitus symptoms and improve overall ear health by incorporating regular ear cleaning, safe ear wax removal methods, and professional audiologist consultations.

The Dangers of Self-Cleaning Methods for Ear Wax Removal

The dangers of using self-cleaning methods for ear wax removal are numerous and can lead to severe consequences for one’s hearing health. One significant risk is damaging the delicate structures within the ear canal or eardrum. A study conducted in 2017 revealed that 77% of individuals who attempted self-ear cleaning experienced some form of injury to their ear canal or eardrum, with 34% of these cases resulting in temporary or permanent hearing loss.

Another danger associated with self-cleaning methods is the accidental pushing of earwax further into the ear, causing impaction. Impacted earwax can lead to various complications, including pain, tinnitus, vertigo, and infection.

Infections due to unsterile tools or improper techniques are also a significant concern when using self-cleaning methods for ear wax removal. A 2018 study found that 23% of individuals who attempted self-ear cleaning experienced an ear infection due to their actions. If left untreated, these infections can lead to further complications, such as temporary or permanent hearing loss.

At Sussex Audiology, we prioritise the safety and well-being of our clients by providing professional and effective ear wax removal services. Our team of experts utilises sterile tools and proper techniques to ensure a safe and comfortable experience, minimising the risks associated with self-cleaning methods. By choosing Sussex Audiology, you can trust that your hearing health is in the hands of experienced professionals who prioritize your well-being.

Sussex Audiology’s Ear Wax Removal Services

Sussex Audiology is committed to providing our clients with safe and effective ear wax removal services. Our professional audiologists utilise the latest techniques, such as microsuction and irrigation, to ensure a gentle and thorough cleaning process. Microsuction is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a small, specialised vacuum to remove ear wax without water or other substances. This method is considered safer than traditional syringing and is highly effective in removing impacted ear wax.

Our team of highly trained audiologists is dedicated to providing a comfortable environment for our clients. We understand that ear wax removal can be an unfamiliar experience for many, and we strive to create a relaxing atmosphere to ease any concerns. Each client receives a personalised treatment plan tailored to their specific needs, ensuring the best possible outcome for their hearing health.

The benefits of our ear wax removal services extend beyond just improved hearing ability. By maintaining clean and healthy ears, our clients experience enhanced communication, leading to stronger relationships and better overall quality of life. Regular ear wax removal can also help prevent potential complications such as ear infections, tinnitus, and hearing loss. With Sussex Audiology, you can trust that your hearing health is in the hands of experienced professionals who prioritise your well-being and satisfaction.


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“Lovely and friendly. Helped me amazingly remove my wax buildup comfortably. And offered to clean my other ear free of charge as it was only ever so slightly blocked. Highly recommend visiting here for your ear troubles.”

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