Can Earwax Make Tinnitus Flare Ups WORSE?

Can Earwax Make Tinnitus Flare Ups WORSE

How Impacted Earwax Buildup Impacts Your Hearing Health

Many folks often wonder if earwax is responsible for hearing loss and/or tinnitus. In order to answer this, it is first necessary to understand the human hearing system.

Each of our ears consists of an ear canal that leads to an eardrum. Behind each eardrum are our three hearing bones as well as the hearing organ (known as the cochlea). Earwax collects in our ear canals, and a small amount is healthy and natural. But over time, earwax can build up and create an impaction.

Dr. Ben Thompson explains how wax buildup can impact hearing

Impacted wax is most common in individuals with small ear canals as well as those who use Q-tips or earbuds regularly. Impacted wax can thus create temporary hearing loss, preventing sound from traveling through your ear canal and reaching the cochlea. Impacted wax can also create temporary tinnitus, or a ringing in the ears. The good news is that after removing impacted earwax, your hearing will typically return to normal and any tinnitus will dissipate.

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There are a few things to know about proper earwax removal. First, do not use Q-tips, which can inadvertently push wax deeper and complicate removal. Second, do not attempt to remove the earwax if your eardrum is punctured.

The most common audiologist-approved removal method is to use ear drops, which help to soften the wax, or to use a spray syringe. I do not recommend trying ear candling at home.

Ultimately, the best way to remove it is with the help of a professional, such as a primary doctor, an ENT physician, or an audiologist. These professionals have the necessary training, expertise, and tools, and can offer ear washes, vacuums, or scooping to help remove earwax.

If you think earwax may be having an impact on your hearing ability, we recommend you talk to your ENT or your primary care physician to have an examination.

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