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Ear wax - What are the symptoms of a build-up of ear wax?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

If you've got a build-up of ear wax (called an ear wax plug) it can stop you hearing properly. This usually isn't a serious problem, but it can be frustrating.

Your hearing may get steadily worse over time. If the plug completely blocks your ear canal, you may feel as if you've lost most of the hearing in that ear. You may find this annoying.[4] Or if you've got ear wax plugs in both ears, you may find it difficult to hold a conversation.[4]

You may also:[5][6]

  • Get a humming, buzzing, or ringing sound in your ears (tinnitus)

  • Get pain in your ear or ears

  • Feel dizzy.

An ear wax plug can also increase your chances of getting an ear infection.[5]

Your doctor will look into your ear to see whether wax is blocking your ear canal.



You get an infection when bacteria, a fungus, or a virus get into a part of your body where it shouldn't be. For example, an infection in your nose and airways causes the common cold. An infection in your skin can cause rashes such as athlete's foot. The organisms that cause infections are so tiny that you can't see them without a microscope.

For more terms related to Ear wax


For references related to Ear wax click here.
Last Updated: March 13, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.
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