Tinnitus can be caused by a variety of things, from hearing loss to chronic health conditions like diabetes or even certain medications. One common cause of tinnitus that can often be overlooked is having a buildup of earwax in your inner ear.
What Exactly Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is often described as a ringing in your ear or ears. However, you may experience roaring, buzzing, hissing, clicking or other noises as well. In the vast majority of cases, tinnitus is subjective, meaning only the person experiencing it can hear it.
For some people, tinnitus comes and goes. For others, it can be chronic and have a negative impact on their quality of life.
Too Much Earwax Can Cause Tinnitus
Earwax, also known as cerumen, is produced by the glands in the ear and, in the right amount, is essential for protecting your ear by catching debris. Under normal circumstances, earwax naturally works itself out of your ear. This means that, contrary to popular belief, all you need to do to clean your ears is to occasionally wipe the outer ears with a warm, damp washcloth.
However, sometimes people experience earwax buildup, which leads to impaction.
Impaction can be caused by numerous things, including cleaning your ears with cotton swabs. Instead of removing earwax, this actually pushed earwax deeper into your canal, causing a blockage.
Using earbuds, earplugs and hearing aids can also make it more likely that you experience earwax buildup. Impaction can produce a variety of symptoms, including tinnitus.
Symptoms of Earwax Impaction
In addition to tinnitus, earwax impaction can cause other symptoms including:
- A feeling of fullness in the ear
- Dizziness or balance problems
- Temporary hearing loss
- Odor and discharge coming from the ear
If you are experiencing tinnitus or other symptoms of earwax impaction, you know that they can make it harder to function in your daily life, whether at work or when trying to enjoy a cup of coffee in the Tampa sun out at Café Hey.
Removing Earwax Buildup
The National Library of Medicine recommends that “cerumen should be removed when it causes symptoms like hearing loss, itching, pain and tinnitus.” Though you may be tempted to do it yourself, make an appointment with a specialist for earwax removal.
Your practitioner will examine your ears and decide on the best treatment option for removal. In cases where you are experiencing tinnitus, they will likely use microsuction, which is where earwax is removed with a small suction device. This is a safe way to deal with impaction that won’t cause further injury.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Kampsen Hearing today.