Most people try to handle earwax buildup themselves with cotton swabs and other cleaners. However, leaving severe earwax buildup untreated can lead to serious issues, from pain to hearing loss.
Below, your reliable sinus relief specialist of Glatz Group of Valley ENT explains how earwax buildup can lead to hearing loss and how an ENT doctor can help.
What Is Earwax and How Does It Accumulate?
Earwax, also known as cerumen, is a waxy substance meant to act as a barrier between the ear canal and dust, bacteria, and other debris. What is surprising to many is that earwax is very important to the health of the ear, as it prevents infections from happening.
Earwax is meant to naturally move itself to our outer ear through the movements our jaws make when we talk, chew, and swallow. This action breaks up the ear wax, moving it to the outside of our ear, allowing us to wipe it away without further damage.
The buildup of earwax happens when more is produced than can be moved, making it difficult for the ear to clean itself out.
What Are the Symptoms of Earwax Buildup?
The main giveaway of earwax buildup is an increased difficulty hearing. Other symptoms you may experience all depend upon the severity of the buildup and the size of your ear canal.
Some of the common symptoms of excessive earwax buildup include:
- Having an itchy or irritated ear
- Having a plugged-up feeling in your ear
- A constant ringing in your ear, also known as tinnitus
- A cough
If left untreated, these symptoms can make it very uncomfortable to function on a day-to-day basis. Hearing loss can affect your work, relationships, and way of life.
At the first sign of earwax buildup, it is important to get it looked at and treated.
Should You Clean Earwax Out Yourself?
When it comes to treating a blockage yourself, we strongly recommend against it. When a blockage is suspected, people often turn to cotton swabs or other objects to clean it out. However, this actually has the opposite effect, pushing the earwax further back into the canal. Using a swab at home can cause an infection, irritation, and damage to your ear.
Many sufferers decide to treat themselves at home because it is easier than going to see the doctor. Unfortunately, that sort of delay is likely to increase the damage to your ear and make your doctor’s visit even more urgent.
How Will Your ENT Treat It?
The treatment of your earwax buildup depends on your age, the symptoms you’re experiencing, and your overall health. Many providers will first give the ear time to remove the earwax buildup on its own. However, when the buildup remains or gets worse, they may recommend the following types of treatment.
- Medicated drops for the ear canal that will soften and break down the wax
- Using water to irrigate the ear canal
- Manual removal by your ENT using specific tools in the office
Depending on your case, your health care provider may recommend one of these treatments or a combination of the three.
If Earwax Buildup is Causing You Issues, Visit Your ENTs at Glatz Group to Find Relief!
If you suspect you have a case of earwax buildup, we strongly advise that you schedule an appointment with your Valley ENT instead of trying to treat it at home with other remedies.
Remember that it is always best to be evaluated by a licensed medical professional first to get the proper care and treatment for your specific case.