Earwax is a substance found in everyone’s ears that serves a healthy function. It catches foreign particles and germs that may enter your ears, slowly drying up and falling out, removing that debris in the process. According to the professionals at Harvard Medical School, some earwax is good for your ears, so it’s best to leave it alone. However, when it is overproduced, it can lead to issues beyond itchy ears. Here are four signs to watch for that will determine whether you should head to the audiologist for a professional cleaning.

Ringing in the Ears

Tinnitus, a constant ringing or buzzing in your ears, doesn’t only happen to those with hearing loss. While those patients can suffer from chronic buzzing, tinnitus can also develop when earwax builds up in people with regular hearing. If you notice a ringing in your ears that isn’t due to outside stimuli such as loud music – make an appointment with your hearing center for a professional cleaning.

Sudden Loss of Hearing

Losing your hearing is naturally a gradual process. It takes place over a long span of time and has a specific reason such as old age or excessive exposure to loud noises. So, if you experience a loss of hearing overnight where you go to bed with proper hearing and wake up to sounds being dull and muted, you may not need a hearing aid. Instead, it can be a sign that you have an earwax buildup. Earwax can block your ear canal and keep sound from reaching the inner ear. An audiologist can help you remove the blockage and restore your hearing.

Discolored Earwax

Earwax is normally a light yellow to orange hue. If your ears begin to produce an oddly dark colored wax, that can be a sign that there are too many dead germs or debris in your ears. These causes lead to an overproduction of earwax which can cause a backup in your ears. Get it removed by a professional audiologist.

Ear Pain

You should always see your audiologist at the first sign of ear pain. Earaches are often caused by infections or ruptured eardrums which can be serious and lead to hearing loss. However, they can also be caused by a ball of hardened ear wax pressing up against your auditory nerve. Either way, your audiologist is the best person to get you back on the road to healthy ears.

Loss of hearing and ear aches don’t always lead to the need for a hearing aid. Sometimes you just need a good cleaning to remove excess earwax. If you notice any of the above four signs, it’s time to call your audiologist.

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