Can Ear Wax Cause Hearing Loss? Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

Can Ear Wax Cause Hearing Loss? Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

Excessive earwax can lead to temporary hearing loss by blocking the ear canal and obstructing sound waves from reaching the eardrum. With proper earwax removal, this condition will not cause discomfort nor decrease your overall hearing ability.

Let’s explore more about earwax – purpose, symptoms of excessive buildup, and ways to address it.

What Is Earwax and What Is Its Purpose?

Earwax, medically known as cerumen, is produced by glands in the ear canal from secretions and dead skin cells. It has a slightly sticky texture, acting as a protective barrier to trap foreign particles like dust, bacteria, and bugs. Think of earwax as the bouncer at a nightclub, keeping out unwanted guests and safeguarding our ears from potential harm.

Understanding how earwax safeguards our hearing emphasizes its significance in maintaining healthy auditory systems.

Indications of Excessive Earwax

Excessive earwax may lead to discomfort and various health issues. Signs include earaches, a constant fullness sensation, ringing or buzzing sounds (tinnitus), hearing loss, and even dizziness. A noticeable odor may also be present in the ear(s) if left unchecked.

Carefully monitoring these signs and seeking professional help when needed allows for maintaining healthy ears.

Earwax Buildup: The Culprit Behind Hearing Loss?

While earwax is beneficial, an imbalance can lead to conductive hearing loss. This occurs when sound waves are impeded from traveling properly through the ear. Excessive earwax can block sound waves, resulting in muffled and diminished hearing.

Addressing potential earwax buildup should be a high priority if you find yourself frequently asking people to repeat themselves or struggling to follow conversations in noisy places.

Professional earwax removal is often necessary to restore clear hearing. Attempting at-home solutions like cotton swabs poses risks, potentially pushing wax further into the ear canal and causing temporary hearing loss.

Understanding how excessive earwax affects hearing is crucial in taking proactive measures for maintaining auditory health.

DIY: Safe Home Remedies for Earwax Removal

While it’s crucial to be cautious about at-home ear cleaning, some gentle methods can help manage earwax without causing damage. Over-the-counter wax softening drops and gentle rinsing with warm water using a bulb syringe are safe options.

Patience is key when managing earwax buildup at home. The goal is gentle action for long-term relief.

Understanding safe methods for self-care is paramount when dealing with ear health. Now, let’s explore measures to minimize the risk of earwax build-up for better hearing health.

Measures to Prevent Earwax Buildup

Caring for our ears involves maintaining cleanliness without inserting objects into the ear canal. Regular ear hygiene, avoiding cotton swabs, and being mindful of environmental factors, like using earmuffs in dusty conditions or earplugs during water activities, can prevent wax accumulation.

Small steps today pave the way for better hearing health in the future.

When to Seek Medical Help for Earwax Buildup

While home remedies work for many, persistent symptoms like discomfort, muffled hearing, or continuous ringing indicate the need for professional intervention. Seek help if over-the-counter ear drops yield no results or if there’s sudden hearing loss or constant pain.

Understanding when professional help is necessary can prevent severe complications and safeguard hearing health in the long run.

Treatment: Professional Earwax Removal in Austin, TX

When dealing with impacted or excessive earwax, seeking professional help is essential. Audiologists are trained to safely and effectively remove earwax using specialized tools and techniques, preventing damage to the delicate ear canal.

Professional methods may include irrigation using warm water or manual removal with medical-grade instruments. Attempting improper or aggressive removal methods at home can lead to injuries like a perforated eardrum.

Understanding professional care aids in making informed decisions about seeking treatment for earwax issues and prioritizing safety and effectiveness.

Don’t let earwax buildup impact your hearing health. Seek professional help from RK Audiology in Austin, TX today!

What are the types of hearing tests?

What are the types of hearing tests?

After hearing your family members or friends bug you about the television volume for the nth time, you’re now considering seeking professional help. An audiologist will provide hearing tests to diagnose and validate the nature and severity of your hearing loss.

Hearing tests are risk-free and comfortable and provide a baseline for your current hearing thresholds. The results are plotted on an audiogram, a visual representation to easily understand your current hearing capabilities.

Types of Hearing Tests

     1. Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs)

OAEs are sounds produced by hair cell vibrations in the cochlea of the inner ear. This form of examination employs a microscopic probe equipped with a speaker and microphone to trigger the cochlea and evaluate its response.

People with normal hearing will emit sound; those with hearing loss of more than 25 to 30 dB will not. This test helps identify if there is an obstruction in the ear canal, abnormal fluid levels in the middle ear, or damage to the cochlear hair cells.

OAE testing is also an integral part of hearing screening programs for newborns.

     2. Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)

ABR is used to determine the presence of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). This type of hearing loss manifests when there is an issue in the inner ear or with how the hearing nerve works.

Auditory Brainstem Response is used for neonatal hearing screenings. In an ABR examination, electrodes are connected to your skull, scalp, or earlobes, and headphones are provided. Your brainwave activity in reaction to noises of differing intensities is measured.

     3. Acoustic Reflex Testing

This hearing test focuses on the involuntary muscle contractions of the middle ear. Through acoustic reflex testing, it is possible to pinpoint the source of the hearing problem, whether it is in the auditory nerve, cochlea, or ossicles.

     4. Tympanometry

This type of acoustic evaluation is directed toward the middle ear, eardrum, and conduction bones. By creating variations of air pressure in the ear canal, audiologists can use tympanometry as an objective test of general middle-ear function.
The results gathered from this procedure provide additional needed information and dovetail with the results of other hearing tests for easier and more accurate diagnosis.

     5. Speech Testing

This test is intended to determine the speech reception threshold (SRT), otherwise known as the quietest speech you can understand 50% of the time. It also assesses your ability to distinguish speech from ambient noise.

Speech testing or speech audiometry results provide important information as part of a comprehensive hearing evaluation. While other types of hearing tests directly evaluate hearing abilities, speech testing focuses on comprehension abilities.

     6. Bone Conduction Testing

Through bone conduction testing, sounds will be sent through a specialized device. The gentle vibrations emitted during this test will directly stimulate the cochlea or inner ear, bypassing the middle and outer ear, and provide information about the nature and location of your hearing difficulties

This type of hearing test will allow audiologists to measure how well you can hear and help detect any issues with your middle and outer ear.

     7. Pure Tone Testing

Also referred to as pure tone audiometry, this hearing test utilizes air conduction to evaluate your ability to hear sounds of varying pitches and intensities.
Various sounds (beeps and tones) will be transmitted through a specialized pair of headphones. You will be asked to respond by clicking a button or raising your hand whenever you hear a tone. The results will then be presented on an audiogram.

Hearing Tests in Austin, TX

RK Audiology provides a wide selection of hearing tests in South Austin, TX, and nearby locations.

Don’t wait until it’s too late – schedule your hearing appointment today!


What are the first signs of tinnitus?

What are the first signs of tinnitus?

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) estimates that approximately 10 percent of the U.S. adult population — over 25 million Americans — experience some form of tinnitus.

Tinnitus manifests as buzzing, whirring, hissing, whistling, or can be a single high-pitched beep.

As of this writing, no specific cause of tinnitus has been identified. Tinnitus, according to medical authorities, is more of a symptom.

Tinnitus is a widespread medical problem, and audiologists are frequently the medical professionals who identify and provide treatment.

Millions of individuals in the United States have tinnitus. This condition can be secondary to sudden or extended exposure to loud noises, change in medications, increase or decrease in caffeine intake, change in weight, presbycusis, a medical reaction, or other underlying medical concerns.

Tinnitus causes and triggers

Tinnitus can be caused or exacerbated by several factors.

It is commonly caused by damage to the inner ear hair cells. Small, fragile hairs line the inner ear, following the direction of sound waves. The motion allows the hair cells in the ears to generate electrical messages to the brain, which are then translated into sound.

Tinnitus occurs when the hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, causing them to release random electrical signals to the brain.

Tinnitus can also be caused by: 

  • long-term medical issues
  • ear nerve damage 
  • problems with the brain’s hearing center

What age does tinnitus usually start?

Can you be too young or too old for tinnitus?

Tinnitus has been documented in approximately 15% of the world’s population; the majority  ranges in age between 40 and 80.  Chronic tinnitus prevalence rises with age, increasing to 14.3% in adults aged 60 to 69.

How to manage tinnitus

If you think you are experiencing the first signs of tinnitus (ringing in your ears, sensitivity to sounds in quiet environments), seek medical attention right away.

Tinnitus treatment and management will largely depend on your symptoms. Below are some popular ways to manage tinnitus:

  • Learn relaxation strategies. Tinnitus can be more pronounced with focus on the tinnitus. Learning how to relax can help bring relief and prevent it from worsening. 
  • Avoid being in places that are too quiet. 
  • Increase ambient noise so you can be distracted from focusing on tinnitus sounds. 
  • Use appropriate hearing protection.
  • Maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.
  • Neck massage: Tinnitus symptoms can be reduced by relieving tension in specific neck muscles and with medical massage treatments. targets specific muscles in the head, neck, upper back, and jaw. When done by a professional, this massage may help relieve tension and lessen the severity of tinnitus symptoms. 

When should I see a doctor for tinnitus?

You should see an audiologist immediately if 

  • You notice that tinnitus is only in one ear
  • The sound is negatively impacting your sleep and ability to focus
  • You experience hearing loss and dizziness
  • You notice that the sound seems to be pulsating or in sync with your heartbeat. Problems with blood pressure can induce a specific type of tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus occurs when tinnitus sounds like a pulsing or pulsating sound in the ears. This type of tinnitus is usually caused by blood vessel injury.

Does tinnitus ever go away?

ew cases of tinnitus may subside within 6-12 months of onset. With severe tinnitus, you will most likely hear it less frequently over time, with treatment, even if it lingers beyond this timeframe.

Is tinnitus a physical or mental problem?

Tinnitus is a medical ailment that causes ringing in the ear or head even when there is no external physical noise present. Tinnitus isn’t an illness in and of itself. It is a sign of a problem with the auditory (hearing) system, which comprises the ears and the brain.

Accurate diagnosis is key when dealing with tinnitus. Working with an audiologist specializing in tinnitus will help you overcome this condition.

Audiologists in Austin, TX

If you are experiencing tinnitus, hearing loss, or some other hearing issues, it’s best to see an audiologist to get a hearing test.

RK Audiology has audiologists ready to help you get back on track and live your best life.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation!


Is it good to get your ears professionally cleaned?

Is it good to get your ears professionally cleaned?

The wax from the ears is normally eliminated by the body. The ability to eliminate ear wax is part of the normal ear function. Earwax is designed to come out of the ear canal through movements of the jaw such as yawning or chewing. However, not everyone produces earwax at the same pace; some individuals may create more earwax, which may result in impaction as well as other auditory problems.

It may be a common practice in your household to clean your ears with a cotton swab, but it’s not actually a smart idea. As audiologists, we discourage any method of DIY ear cleaning, whether it involves cotton swabs, bobby pins, ear candles, etc.

In all honesty, none of these items will produce good results. It doesn’t matter how many YouTube “ear wax removal” or “ear cleaning” video tutorials you watch; you cannot fully clean your ears or get rid of impacted earwax unless you see an audiologist.

In fact, if you pierce your eardrum or make the obstruction worse, you run the risk of getting an ear infection or perforating your eardrums.

Why is earwax buildup removal necessary?

If an excessive amount of earwax has accumulated in your ears, professional cleaning is required. It is crucial to clean your ears because failing to do so may lead to infections and other auditory issues like earaches, vertigo, tinnitus, or hearing loss.

Most people use cotton swabs in an attempt to remove earwax from their ears. Cotton swabs shouldn’t be used to remove wax because doing so could only push the particles deeper into the ear.

Cotton swabs should only be used to clean the outer part of the ear. Never insert cotton buds or Q-tips into your ear canal to avoid harming your inner ear and eardrum.

What is the most effective way to clean your ears?

Visiting an audiologist is the safest method to get rid of wax accumulation. An audiologist may use specialized tools, such as forceps, a cerumen spoon, or suction equipment to remove the obstruction. Some audiology clinics also provide professional irrigation services.

Earigator in Austin, TX

The Earigator is a recently introduced ear irrigation system that uses a secure and tried-and-true method to “flush out” the ear canal and structure. This one-of-a-kind device combines an otoscope with the entire functionality of a conventional ear irrigation system, giving us complete visibility and control over the procedure.

The device features a built-in temperature control feature that consistently adjusts the water’s temperature to conform to your body’s temperature. You can prevent any caloric impacts or unwelcome vertigo symptoms as a result. Precision-level pressure controls guarantee prompt, efficient clearance of even the most difficult accumulation while completely avoiding eardrum damage.

The process just requires 3-5 minutes per ear, which is far quicker than conventional techniques.

You can now experience the comfort and convenience of the Earigator at RK Audiology. Choose from one of our conveniently situated offices in Austin or Westlake to get your ears examined by one of our licensed and experienced audiologists.

Professional ear cleaning in Austin, TX

Earwax buildup symptoms are not at all enjoyable. Visit an audiologist straight away if you experience any symptoms that make you think you might have earwax impaction or another auditory issue.

Get a thorough ear cleaning from a reputed audiologist to protect the health of your ears. Through professional ear cleaning, you have the peace of mind that your hearing health is in good hands. With professional ear cleaning, you get to enjoy clean and healthy ears without any risks.

RK Audiology provides professional ear cleaning services in Austin, TX, and nearby locations. Contact us today to book an appointment!

How can you improve your hearing?

How can you improve your hearing?

Is it possible to improve your hearing once hearing loss has occurred?

Hearing loss could happen to anyone, regardless of age or gender. Hearing loss affects one in three people over the age of 65 and half of people over the age of 75. Age-related hearing loss is known as presbycusis. There is no medical or surgical treatment for hearing loss caused by noise. Damaged hair cells of the ear do not regenerate, hence, you should do your best to protect your hearing. If you are already diagnosed with hearing loss, you should make an effort to prevent it from getting worse.

In this blog post, we’re going to share with you simple tips on how you can improve your hearing.

Keep the volume down

Keeping the noise level as low as you can is a simple strategy to improve your hearing comfort and health. If your surroundings are 85 dB or louder, you should, wherever feasible, go away from the loud noise. If this is not an option, be sure you constantly wear hearing protection to prevent any major damage to your hearing.

Be on the lookout for earwax

A buildup of ear wax may have an impact on your ability to hear. Your ears might not be as sensitive to noises as normal if ear wax is blocking them. But don’t panic; ear wax buildup is both typical and fairly manageable. The consequences of hearing loss can be reduced or even completely eliminated with professional ear wax removal.

Stay fit and active

Your ears will benefit from your overall health if you stay in shape, and regular exercise is the simplest way to do this. You may improve your blood flow and cardiac circulation by walking or jogging, gardening, cleaning the house, or even simply completing simple household chores.

Yoga and Relaxation

Many people who experience hearing loss claim that occasionally, practicing yoga can improve their hearing. Your head receives more oxygen-rich blood while you are relaxed and stretching in poses like downward dog, which may improve your hearing.

Improve your hearing by observing proper ear hygiene

Bacteria and fungi flourish in the ear canals’ cozy, dark environment. If water gets inside your ears, it’s possible for germs and fungus to start growing there. Otitis externa, sometimes referred to as swimmer’s ear, is an ear infection. Ear infections can cause discomfort, discharge, itching, and a feeling of fullness. Recovery from swimmer’s ear might take up to six weeks, perhaps longer. Keep your ears dry and germ-free to prevent ear infections.

Wear hearing protection

The most frequent and easily avoidable cause of hearing loss is exposure to loud noises. It is advisable that you use dependable hearing protection if you are going to a place or attending an event where you will be exposed to loud noises. Even though it may sound cliche, the greatest method for improving hearing is to guard against damage in the first place. Keep the volume on your earphones, headphones, or earbuds at no more than 60% to prevent hearing loss. Consult your audiologist for the finest occupational hearing protection if your employment routinely exposes you to loud noises.

To know more about how to improve your hearing, talk to the experts. RK Audiology connects you to the best audiologists and hearing aids in Austin, TX, and nearby communities.

What are the five signs of hearing loss?

What are the five signs of hearing loss?

Hearing loss may occur gradually or suddenly. Being familiar with the hidden signs of hearing loss is important for early detection and intervention.

A person is said to have hearing loss if their hearing abilities are less than those of someone with normal hearing, which is characterized by hearing thresholds of 20 dB or greater in both ears. This disorder, which can be mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe, or profound, can affect one or both ears.

With time and exposure to loud noise, the nerve cells or microscopic hairs in the cochlea that carry sound signals to the brain may degrade. When fragile nerve endings are destroyed, electrical impulses cannot be transmitted effectively, which causes hearing loss.

When should you visit an audiologist and what are the five signs of hearing loss?

Ringing in the ears or tinnitus

It is estimated that one in five persons who have hearing loss also has tinnitus. This disorder, often known as ringing in the ears, happens when someone is exposed to extremely loud sounds (i.e gunshots, explosions).

Nearly 90% of people with tinnitus also experience hearing loss. The thing is, tinnitus frequently imitates the rhythm of your loss. If you have difficulty hearing high frequencies, your tinnitus could be perceived as a high-pitched ringing or buzzing.

If you encounter any strange hearing problems, seek medical treatment from an audiologist as tinnitus may be an early indicator of hearing loss or some underlying medical condition.

Muffled or distorted hearing

If anything as basic as congestion brought on by a common cold or an allergy is the cause of the muffled hearing, it may eventually go better on its own. However, you need to rule out more serious causes of muffled hearing, such as hearing loss, head injuries, or tumors.

Overproduction of ear wax is a typical contributor to hearing loss (cerumen). An obstruction in the ear canal can occasionally be caused by ear wax accumulation. The ear wax may harden and dry up over time, increasing the likelihood of impaction, which in turn could affect or impair your ability to hear.

Listening fatigue

Listening fatigue develops when your brain must concentrate to distinguish sounds from background noise before processing and transforming them into meaningful information. People who seem “tired of listening” are sometimes misunderstood to be obnoxious, disinterested, or insensitive.

When hearing loss is present, the brain has to perform harder than usual to compensate for the disability, which leads to stress and exhaustion.

Struggling to hear in mild-to-moderate background noise

If you have hearing loss, it could be more challenging to converse with others. If you have trouble hearing conversations in the presence of background noise, it’s possible that your ears have issues blocking out external sounds. Struggling to hear, especially in the presence of modest background noise, is frequently the first indicator of moderate hearing loss or auditory processing disorder (APD).

Less enthusiasm for social activities

Humans who have hearing loss are more likely to experience social isolation. People frequently opt to detach and isolate themselves rather than engage in social, professional, or business contexts where interaction is necessary when hearing becomes problematic. Hearing loss can cause psychological and social issues that affect one’s feelings and society if it is not remedied.

Many of life’s most cherished experiences, such as hearing a loved one’s voice or laughter, engaging in meaningful discussions with family and friends, admiring the sounds of nature, or watching your preferred TV shows or sporting events, can be challenging to enjoy and participate in if you have hearing loss.

Experiencing signs of hearing loss?

Get your hearing tested!

If you believe that you or a loved one is exhibiting early signs of hearing loss, make sure to schedule an appointment with an audiologist to get your hearing tested. RK Audiology offers comprehensive hearing testing in Austin, TX, and nearby communities.

Got more questions about hearing loss? Ask an audiologist today!