Symptoms of earwax build-up 

Earwax doesn't usually cause problems, but a build-up of earwax can lead to a blocked ear, pain and hearing loss.

Some people produce more earwax than others. It usually falls out of your ear gradually, in small pieces or flakes. Sometimes, earwax can build up and harden, creating a blockage called a "plug".

As well as causing discomfort, an earwax plug can also cause temporary hearing loss because it blocks your ear canal. Once the blockage is removed, your hearing will improve.

Read more about treating earwax build-up.

Other symptoms

Too much earwax can also cause other symptoms, including:   

Some experts believe that earwax may also be associated with vertigo (the sensation that you're moving even when standing still). However, this link is not certain.

In rare cases, you may also have a cough that's caused by the stimulation of a nerve inside your ear. This is due to an increase in pressure created by the impacted earwax.

See your GP if you experience any of the above symptoms and are worried that your earwax may be causing problems. Don't attempt to remove your earwax by sticking anything in your ear, such as a cotton bud.

Page last reviewed: 10/03/2014

Next review due: 10/03/2016