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Is Excessive Ear Wax Dangerous?

Ear wax is a naturally occurring substance that is produced by the body to clean and protect the ear canals. Everyone has ear wax, but buildup can have impacts on both health and quality of life. Is excessive ear wax dangerous?

Ear wax originates in the ear canal before working its way out over time. When ear wax becomes impacted, too much has built up in the ears, causing a blockage. There are many reasons why ear wax can become impacted. Some people produce more earwax than others, making them more prone to buildup. Conditions such as eczema, infections or anatomical differences can also lead to higher amounts of earwax buildup. Aggressive cleaning or swabbing of the ear canal can push ear wax back into the ear, causing impaction.

Excessive ear wax can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from annoying to debilitating. On the less extreme end are symptoms like itching in the ear canal or a feeling of fullness or pressure through the ear. Impaction may also lead to earaches, dizziness or a ringing sensation in the ears. The most severe symptom is hearing loss.

So, is excessive ear wax dangerous? By itself, no, but the symptoms that come from impaction can be. Dizziness or tinnitus can interfere with your balance and the ability to focus. Hearing loss, although temporary with ear wax impaction, can make you less aware of your surroundings. It can also impact your ability to clearly communicate with those around you.

While excessive ear wax itself may not be dangerous, it is still a condition that should be treated under the care of a medical professional rather than with at-home methods. Treating yourself comes with the risk of severe and more permanent complications. A doctor can discuss your symptoms and perform a physical exam to determine the severity of an impaction and identify the best treatment option.

Earwax can feel like a nuisance, but excessive earwax doesn’t have to be. Call (602) 956-1250 to schedule an appointment with the Ear, Nose and Throat specialists at Biltmore ENT. Our expert physicians can evaluate your ears to determine the right treatment plan for you.