Winter is upon us and as well as an increased chance of catching a cold or the flu, the colder days can actually cause hearing loss or discomfort due to a build-up of ear wax.
Unlike what you might think, ear wax is actually a good thing. It protects your ear canal and eardrum, keeping them moist and trapping dirt and germs.
But, in the winter, ear wax can harden, causing discomfort and affecting the quality of your hearing and potentially causing infections.
According to Paul Jackson, Head of Audiology at Bayfields Opticians and Audiologists, one of the most common symptoms of ear wax build-up can be a reduction in hearing, but you may also experience:
- blocked ears
- ear discomfort
- a feeling of fullness in the ear
- tinnitus (hearing a ringing, whooshing, humming or buzzing sound)
- irritation in the ear canal.
Paul advises: “If you are suffering from increased ear wax, it can be tempting to try to remove it at home with a cotton bud, but this could potentially cause damage to the ear.
“Remember that some ear wax is good, but if you’re unsure, the best thing to do is to get checked by your local GP or audiologist. There are a number of techniques your healthcare professional will use, including micro-suction or syringing for safe wax removal.”
Other causes for ear wax build-up include:
· Naturally producing a little too much. Some of us just produce more!
· Having narrow ear canals can lead to issues arising more easily
· Wearing in-ear equipment. People who wear hearing aids, earplugs or in-ear headphones are likely to produce more ear wax
· Getting older. It’s just one of those things that comes with age, our ear wax tends to become harder, and more uncomfortable, which can cause complications.