Am I losing my hearing or is earwax preventing me from hearing?

Have you ever woken up and felt as though your hearing has decreased suddenly? Have you been in mid conversation and all of sudden felt as though your ears have plugged up? Could it just be wax or is my hearing slowing decreasing? Why am I not hearing as well as I did a few months ago? I these questions sound familiar you could have wax or the beginnings signs of hearing loss. It is important to have both checked out by a professional. Before having your hearing tested it also important to make sure you do not have impacted wax, because wax that is impacted in your ear canal can affect your test results.

What is ear wax?
The skin on the outer part of the ear canal has special glands that produce ear wax, also known as cerumen. The purpose of this natural wax is to protect the ear from damage and infections. Normally, a small amount of wax accumulates and then dries up and falls out of the ear canal, carrying with it unwanted dust or sand particles.
Ear wax is helpful to coat the skin of the ear canal where it acts as a temporary water repellent. The absence of ear wax may result in dry, itchy ears, and even infection.

What does ear wax look like?
Cerumen varies in form and appearance from person to person. It may be almost liquid, firm and solid, or dry and flaky. The color of ear wax varies depending upon its composition. Glandular secretions, sloughed skin cells, normal bacteria present on the surface of the canal, and water may all be present in ear wax.

When should ear wax be removed?
Under ideal circumstances, a person should never have to clean their ear canals. However, sometimes removal of ear wax is necessary. Excessive ear wax may build up in the ear canal for many of reasons. When cleaning your ears you don’t want to stick anything in your ears. If you have problem with ear wax, there are ear drops you can use that helps soften the wax to help it fall out on its own easier. If that doesn’t work, ask your physician to clean your ears for you. If the wax is removed and you still can’t hear, then you must go see a Hearing Healthcare Provider and have your hearing screened. If you have a hearing loss and can benefit from wearing hearing aids, your provider will go over the options that are best suited for you and your hearing loss.