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4 Signs You Need an Ear Cleaning

Woman Touching Ear

A clean ear is a healthy ear. And a healthy ear helps us to maintain good hearing for as long as possible while also reducing the risk of threats to our balance. However, as important as it is to keep our ears clean to avoid infections and reduce the risk of hearing loss, sometimes we can go about pursuing clean ears the wrong way. We tend to look at earwax as something dirty and repellent which must be eradicated from our spotlessly clean ear canals, but it actually serves an important purpose.

There’s nothing to fear about some wax in your ear

Many of us clean our ears rigorously with a cotton swab. It’s as much a part of our hygiene and cleanliness regimen as brushing our teeth, clipping our nails or flossing. However, a zero-tolerance approach to earwax can actually do more harm than good. When we jam a cotton bud into our ears to scoop out wax, we can wind up pushing it deeper into the ear canal or even perforate your eardrum causing permanent damage.

Besides, a little wax in your ear is actually a good thing. It’s a naturally antifungal and antibacterial substance which your ears use to keep infections at bay.

On the other hand, some of us produce earwax to excess and this can result in a harmful buildup which impacts, hardens and actually increases your risk of infection.

So, how do we know our wax levels are healthy and how do we know that it’s time to see an audiologist for a thorough ear cleaning. Just keep a lookout for these four signs that you need an ear cleaning.

Muffled hearing

There are a number of causes of hearing loss. However, rarely do we ever notice them. Hearing loss tends to be so incremental that we don’t even know it’s happening for years or even decades. Thus, if you notice a pronounced change in your hearing, this may be due to wax buildup.

Clogged hearing aids

For those of us with hearing loss, a hearing aid is an extremely effective way of regaining some of our hearing’s efficacy. However, if you notice that your hearing aid seems less effective lately, it may be because the ear molds of your hearing aid are clogged with wax. If you find that you have to clean out your ear molds more often than you used to, this may also be a sign of excessive wax buildup.


Tinnitus affects many of us immediately after we’ve been exposed to noise, but in most cases,  it tends to go away of its own accord after a few hours.

Persistent tinnitus, however, can also be a sign of increased wax buildup. It’s usually accompanied by a feeling of pressure or soreness in the ear.

Your earwax is a different consistency or color

Earwax is never pleasant, but healthy earwax should have a consistent color and a soft but solid texture. If your earwax gets runny or is a yellow or green color rather than orange or brown, this may be a sign of infection caused by excessive wax buildup.

If you encounter any of these symptoms, book an appointment with your audiologist as soon as you can.