Preventive care Your Health & Wellness

Earwax can cause hearing loss, if left untreated

Written by Diane Archer

If you have a problem hearing, it may stem from excess earwax. Kaiser Health News reports that earwax can cause hearing loss in older adults, if left untreated. Excess earwax is more common in older people than in younger people.

In addition to conductive hearing loss–preventing sound waves to reach your inner ear–excess earwax can cause tinnitus or ringing in your ears, because earwax blocks the ear canal. It can also cause vertigo, and even cognitive decline. And, it can increase your risk of falling.

What is earwax? It is a sticky substance that mixes with dirt and dust in the air, which protects your ears. For about three in ten older adults, however, it can block the ear canal, posing serious risks. People in nursing homes are particularly likely to suffer from this blockage or impaction.

Many people try to remove excess earwax on their own. That can can bigger problems, pushing the wax deeper into the ear canal. Experts suggest leaving the earwax alone. The National Institute on Aging recommends mild treatments, such as mineral oil, baby oil, glycerin, or commercial ear drops to soften earwax.

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