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Can earwax cause tinnitus?

Ringing, buzzing, or humming sounds in your ears can be very frustrating. This condition, known as tinnitus, affects many people all over the UK. But here’s something you might have heard: Can earwax cause tinnitus?

Understanding Tinnitus

Before we start to learn more about earwax, let’s understand what tinnitus is. It’s not an illness itself but more like a symptom of something else going on in your body. It could be because of things like getting older, being around loud noises too much, or even other health issues like heart problems or stress.

What's Earwax Got to Do with It?

Now, onto earwax. Your ears make it and sometimes a we will call it cerumen (which is just a fancy word for earwax). It helps protect your ears from dust, dirt, and bacteria that could harm them. But sometimes, this earwax can build up and block your ear canal, causing problems like earaches, feeling like your ears are full, or even trouble hearing.

The Link Between Earwax and Tinnitus

For some patients, the symptoms of tinnitus feel more present when their ears are blocked and full of wax. This is because the wax itself, is blocking the external noise from entering the ears and makes the internal noises like the buzzing and humming more obvious. 

When patients have their earwax removed, the noises may feel like they have gone. However, for some patients, the procedure can cause some discomfort. 

What the Studies Say

One study looked at how many people with tinnitus also had earwax blockages. Surprisingly, they found that there wasn’t much of a difference between people with tinnitus and those without when it came to earwax issues. So, it’s not clear if earwax buildup is a big deal for tinnitus.

Another study looked at whether getting rid of earwax helped with tinnitus. While some patients said they felt better after having their ears cleaned, it didn’t seem to make a big difference overall. That suggests there might be other reasons behind tinnitus, not just earwax.

What should I do about ear wax build up?

So, what’s the final verdict? 

Well, while cleaning out your ears might give you some temporary relief from tinnitus, it’s not likely to be a long-term fix. Tinnitus is tricky and can have lots of different causes, so just sorting out earwax might not be enough. If you’re struggling with tinnitus, it’s best to chat with your doctor about it.

They can help figure out what’s causing your tinnitus and come up with a plan to manage it. And remember, even though earwax is important for keeping your ears healthy, it’s not always the key to solving tinnitus. So, take care of your ears, but don’t be surprised if clearing out your earwax doesn’t magically make the ringing go away!