Can Ear Wax Cause Tinnitus?

Ear Wax Cause TinnitusTinnitus occurs when people hear ringing or buzzing sounds in their ears. This condition may be frustrating and can make a person unable to function. The exact reason for tinnitus is undetermined in some cases, but ear wax accumulation is a factor in its development. This blog shows a relationship between earwax and tinnitus by describing preventive measures, treatment choices, and when to seek professional ear wax removal

What is Ear Wax?

Earwax, or cerumen, is a natural and essential secretion of the ear canal. It is crucial in maintaining ear health by:

  • Trapping dust, dirt, and debris: Earwax acts as a sticky barrier, preventing foreign particles from entering the inner ear and potentially causing damage.
  • Lubricating the ear canal: Earwax keeps the ear canal moist and prevents dryness, which can lead to irritation and discomfort.
  • Combating bacteria: Earwax contains antibacterial properties that help fight off infections within the ear canal.

Understanding Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a imaginary sound, sometimes accompanying hearing loss. The different types of sounds people experience in their ears can be consistent or intermittent with adjusting volume and pitch. Tinnitus can affect one or both ears. It severely disturbs a person’s quality of life. The ultimate cause of tinnitus cannot be identified. However, it can be associated with various factors such as: 

  • Hearing loss: One of the most significant causes of tinnitus is hearing problems.  
  • Exposure to loud noise: Excessively loud sounds damage the hair cells inside the ear, which subsequently leads to tinnitus. 
  • Certain medications: Certain medicines can have tinnitus as a side effect. 
  • Head injury: A head injury can damage the auditory system, which could cause tinnitus. 
  • Ear infections: The most common setting where tinnitus happens is prolonged or severe ear infections.

Connection Between Ear Wax and Tinnitus

While not the root cause in all cases, earwax buildup can contribute to tinnitus. Here’s how:

  • Blockage of the ear canal:  Excessive earwax can entirely or partially block the ear canal, interfering with sound wave transmission to the inner ear. This disruption can lead to a perception of ringing or buzzing as the brain interprets the altered sound signals.
  • Increased pressure in the ear canal: A buildup of earwax can create pressure within the ear canal, impacting the eardrum and inner ear structures. This pressure change can sometimes trigger tinnitus symptoms.
  • Irritation of the ear canal: Excessive earwax can irritate the delicate skin lining the ear canal, leading to tinnitus as a secondary symptom.

Treatment and Prevention

The ENT specialist in London may suggest safe earwax removal methods if earwax buildup is a potential cause. These methods may reduce the obstruction and eventually provide relief in some cases. There is no cure for tinnitus. Treatment is usually directed to symptom control and to achieve the most favorable quality of life. This involves: 

  • Sound therapy: Exposure to low-level background sounds can mask the perception of tinnitus.
  • Hearing aids: Hearing aids can amplify external sounds, sometimes making tinnitus less noticeable.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This therapy can help individuals cope with tinnitus’s emotional and psychological impact.

Strategies to prevent excessive ear wax buildup

While earwax is a natural occurrence, there are ways to prevent excessive buildup:

  • Avoid inserting objects in your ears: Cotton swabs, bobby pins, or other objects can push earwax deeper into the ear canal, causing impaction.
  • Let your ears dry naturally: Excessive use of cotton swabs or vigorous drying of ears after swimming can remove essential earwax and disrupt natural production.
  • Dietary changes: Some people find that reducing their intake of processed foods. Fruits and vegetables can contribute to healthier earwax production.

Techniques for safe ear wax removal

If you suspect excessive earwax buildup, avoiding home remedies like inserting cotton swabs or using ear candles is crucial. These methods can irritate the ear canal and potentially worsen the situation. Here are some safe techniques:

  • Over-the-counter ear drops: Certain OTC ear drops can help soften earwax, facilitating its natural removal.
  • Warm water irrigation: A bulb syringe filled with warm water can gently flush out softened earwax.
  • Professional earwax removal: In some cases, a doctor might need to use specialized tools or suction to remove impact.

When to Seek Medical Help for Tinnitus Related to Ear Wax?

An ear wax cleaning in London can resolve the tinnitus, but there are also situations where medical help is necessary. Here’s when to consider consulting a doctor:

  • Severity of tinnitus: If the tinnitus is severe, persistent, or significantly impacting your daily life, a doctor can investigate the underlying cause and recommend appropriate management strategies.
  • Sudden hearing loss: Sudden hearing loss alongside tinnitus can lead to a more serious condition requiring medical evaluation.
  • Pain or discomfort: If you have ear pain, discomfort, or infection signs and your problem is accompanied by tinnitus, you should immediately go to a doctor to determine issues in your ear. 
  • Ineffectiveness of home remedies: If over-the-counter ear drops or warm water irrigation don’t alleviate the blockage or tinnitus symptoms within a few days, consulting a doctor is recommended.

Address Your Sinus Issues with ENT LDN

While this blog post focused on earwax and tinnitus, it’s important to note that sinus issues can sometimes contribute to tinnitus symptoms. If you suspect a link between your sinus problems and tinnitus, consulting an ENT specialist can be beneficial. ENT LDN offers comprehensive evaluation and treatment options for various ear, nose, and throat conditions.

Schedule a consultation with us to address your sinus issues promptly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Earwax is a natural waste of the ear canal. It acts as a sticky barrier, trapping dust, dirt, and debris. Additionally, earwax helps lubricate the ear canal and contains antibacterial properties to fight infections.