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Temporary Hearing Problems Due To Earwax Blockage: Information On This Annoying Problem

Updated on October 4, 2014

What Is An Earwax Blockage?

How annoying is temporary deafness from bad earwax? Pretty damn annoying! If you’ve ever experienced it then you’ll know what I’m talking about: it’s that gradual build-up of wax that suddenly becomes a complete blockage one day when you fail to do anything about it. The end result is that curious feeling as if one were submerged underwater, with all sound reaching you from somewhere so distant it might as well be another dimension. That’s when your ear is stopped up with earwax!

So what causes this annoying type of earwax build-up and blockage? Some experts have suggested that a modern highly refined diet, especially a highly fatty one, and environmental pollutants are to blame.1

Earwax: What Can You Do?

Treatment For Earwax Problems

But what about treatments for earwax blockages? In my experience if you go to see your doctor, the end result is often a course of ear drops and then a visit to the surgery nurse to have your ear syringed. This is usually prefaced by a carefully worded warning that syringing the ear is not completely guaranteed safe and some damage is possible. (Although I haven’t, touch wood, experienced any such problems myself up to this point despite several syringings.) It is a little alarming to hear every time, though. (Last time I had it done the nurse advised me that I could continue administering olive oil drops occasionally in order to keep the earwax nice and soft, in order to avoid the excessive build-up leading to a blockage.) It seems that the risks of syringing include physical damage including perforation, discomfort and possibly vertigo.2

Ear Wax

Public domain.
Public domain. | Source

What else is there that you can do in terms of prevention and treatment of earwax blockages? Your doctor may advise you on the appropriate eardrops you should be using. (A friend of mine used to swear by olive oil drops for blocked ears and promised that it did away with the need for syringing. I rather thought she used the same unsterile stuff she fried her eggs in, which put me off more than a bit.) Complementary treatments for excess earwax that have been suggested include some dietary treatments and herbal approaches.1

Dangers & Treatments For Earwax Blockages

Is there anything that improved nutrition can do for excess earwax? Excess fat content and a generally poor quality, highly refined diet have been identified as possible causes of excess earwax buildup. Some herbs are used for this condition including plantain and peppermint.1

Can ear blockages due to excess earwax lead on to real and more serious hearing defects? It has been named as one of the possible causes of loss of conductive hearing capacity.3

Are some people more prone to excess earwax and ear blockages than other people? Is there a genetic or lifestyle element to this frustrating experience? I know that personally, my experience is that if I eat a lot of sugar over a certain period, then sure as eggs is eggs, I’ll start building up a humungous amount of earwax (as well as experiencing some ear pain.) What this proves I don’t know, as it’s purely anecdotal and worthless in a statistical sense (except to me.)

But if you're a sufferer with excess earwax, I know how you feel and you surely have all my sympathy!


1. Kirschmann, J.D., Nutrition Search, Inc. "Nutrition Almanac." New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007.

2. Craig, J.V., Smyth, R.L. "The evidence-based practice manual for nurses." Philadelphia: Churchill Livingstone, 2002.

3. Leonard, B. "Bound for Your Good Health: A Collection of Age Pages." Gaithersburg: National Institute On Ageing, 2005.


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