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Can Tinnitus be caused by Earwax?

Some (not most) cases of tinnitus are caused by simple earwax buildup. If constant ear ringing, throbbing, or ear pressure is driving your berserk, then the first thing you should do is remove excess earwax gently, and notice if the whistling or ringing noises disappear. Here are some helpful guidelines for cleaning out your ears safely and finding help if tinnitus symptoms persist.

Can Tinnitus be caused by Earwax?

It’s healthy to have a normal amount of earwax- your ears need a certain amount of waxy lubrication to protect your inner ear from germs and debris. But too much earwax can clog your ear canals, making it hard to hear, and occasionally causing ringing, whistling, or whooshing sounds in the ears. Over time, earwax can accumulate, forming a large plug in your ears, creating chronic tinnitus.

To find out if earwax is causing tinnitus, follow these earwax removal tips:

  • Visit your pharmacist, and ask for an earwax softening kit that uses gentle eardrops. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Alternatively, you can also use drops of warm mineral oil, inserted with a medicine dropper.
  • Clean your ears with warm water using a large bulb syringe.
  • If tinnitus still persists, visit your doctor and ask him to perform ear irrigation, a water bath that gently removes earwax.
  • Practice ear safety- never place anything with a pointed end in your ear, including cotton swabs, toothpicks, or nail files.
  • Never use a pressurized tooth cleaner such as the Waterpik to clean your ears.
  • Avoid ear candling- it’s a dangerous procedure that has no scientific basis, and may cause severe injury to your eardrums, worsening tinnitus symptoms.

What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus isn’t an illness. In most cases, it’s a neurological condition triggered by various conditions, such as chronic ear infections, nerve cell damage, or exposure to toxins.

Common causes of tinnitus include:

  • Ear wax buildup
  • Exposure to extremely loud noise decibels
  • iPod ear-bud usage
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Long-term ototoxic medications, such as ibuprofen , quinine, antidepressants, or antibiotics
  • Head trauma
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
  • Old age

Tinnitus treatments

There is no cure for tinnitus, but patients have found help by practicing some of these natural therapeutic guidelines-

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Acceptance
  • Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT)
  • Environmental background music or sound effects
  • Low sodium diet
  • Caffeine abstinence
  • Smoking cessation
  • Vitamins, minerals, and herbs that promote healthy reactions to tinnitus triggers

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Image courtesy of mrpuen/freedigitalphotos


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