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How does earwax cause tinnitus?

Earwax is a naturally produced and occurring substance in the ears. Occasionally, some individuals may find that they have excessive earwax, which can be caused by a number of factors. For instance, if your ear glands produce too much earwax, if your ear canals are too narrow, or if you use contact devices (such as hearing aids, or earphones), these can all stimulate earwax production.

Earwax is vital in order to keep our ears clean and free from bacteria or infection. However, having a build-up of untreated excessive earwax can affect our hearing or cause a range of other symptoms. Some of these symptoms include hearing loss, itchiness, or a feeling of fullness in the ear. One such symptom is a ringing sound, which is also known as tinnitus. But how exactly does earwax cause tinnitus?

Instead of excessive earwax affecting the sound which travels through the ear canal and causing tinnitus sounds, it is in actual fact the pressure from the impacted earwax which excites nerve cells in your middle and inner ear. As a consequence, your brain will read the signals from the excited nerves as noise, which is what exactly causes tinnitus.

If the tinnitus in your ears is as a consequence of having compacted earwax, then there is the chance that if you remove the wax, your symptoms will be resolved. However, you should bear in mind that tinnitus is a relatively common problem and can be caused by a host of things such as hearing loss, medications, medical conditions or even stress or anxiety. We recommend getting in touch with a doctor to find out what you can do if you have tinnitus.

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