Our body is always at work doing something, and even when we don’t realize it, there are functions occurring that keep us healthy and happy. One such process is the production of ear wax, but this simple body emanation often gets a bad rap and people are desperate to clean it out of their ears.
One of the biggest misconceptions relates to ear wax hearing loss, with people assuming that just because they have some wax in their ears, they won’t be able to hear. Although this certainly is possible in extreme cases, we generally don’t have to worry about it causing any hearing problems, and its purpose in the body is a lot different than that.
We’re going to explore the goal of ear wax and whether or not it could be contributing to your hearing problems. With a bit of insight and understanding into this natural bodily function and some tips on how to keep your ears clean, you’ll ensure you’re taking care of your hearing and letting your wax work its magic the right way.
When you first think of ear wax, you might have thoughts of hygiene and uncleanliness, but the contrary is actually true. Ear wax is produced by the body naturally and when made in small amounts, it’s designed to be a cleanser.
The wax moves from the inside of the ear canal and pushes debris, hair, dirt, and dead skin cells to the outer ear, keeping everything clear. Studies have even shown that the wax itself is an antifungal and antibacterial agent, and when we don’t make enough, we’ll start to feel it.
Although it’s mostly good, there are times when this ear wax can build up and start to cause problems. Among some of the effects of excess ear wax include ear infections, coughs, earaches, and in some extreme cases, a loss of hearing.
Earwax usually becomes problematic as we get older, because we seem to make more of it to keep up with the demands of the body. When this build up gets so severe an isn’t taken care of regularly, it can start to affect your hearing and will usually cause some sounds to be muffled.
It’s believed that most cases of hearing problems in older adults are caused by a build-up of wax so if you suspect this is happening to you, you’ll want to get it checked out. There are safe ways to remove blockages and you should never attempt to stick anything in your ear and get it checked out.
Cleaning your ears properly has a huge effect on how the wax might impact your hearing. If you pushed earwax into ear and can’t hear or think you’ve gone too far with a cotton tip, you probably already know that you can cause some harm.
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, the best approach to ear wax is to just let it be. Avoid removing ear wax from your ears with fingers, cotton tips or other intrusive objects as this usually ends up doing more harm than good.
If you feel that the earwax is a problem like you’re experiencing hard black ear wax or a more excessive amount than usual that’s leading to hearing problems, see a health professional before trying to remove it yourself.
Otherwise, seeing a doctor once a year is recommended so that they can perform a quick check of your ears and see that everything is okay.
According to a report published by Harvard University, removing blockages from ear wax is the most common otolaryngologic procedure performed in the country in a primary healthcare setting.
A trained health specialist may try different methods to remove blockages which could include syringing water or saline solution into the ear or using a special curette to remove it.
Wearing a hearing aid is a natural part of life, and you don’t have to be old to be using one. As a hearing aid sits in your ear and sometimes blocks the path of earwax from the inner canal to the outer ear, it’s possible that you might experience more wax production.
This occurs because your body is trying to clear the blockage and may signal that it needs more wax to do a thorough cleanse. According to reports, around 60 percent of issues with hearing aids actually occur because of ear wax damage, so it’s something to be mindful of.
If you wear a hearing aid or other device, keep in mind that it might require extra cleaning. Either you can take care of it yourself or have a clinician take a look at it to see that no build up of wax is occurring, potentially damaging this important accessory that you rely on each day.
One of the biggest mistakes we can make when caring for our ears is using cotton tips and other objects to remove wax. Wax is a natural bodily function and one that we need to keep our ear canals clean, so unless you’re experiencing hearing loss or other severe side effects that you believe is from excess wax, it’s best to let it be.
Hearing loss is something that many of us will face in our lives, and sometimes the solution will be as simple as visiting a healthcare professional to have our excess wax or other blockages removed. The main culprit usually isn’t ear wax though, so keep this in mind before you start poking and prodding around in your ear and potentially do serious harm.