Earwax – 11 Important Things You Didn’t Know


Many of us get tempted to clean our ears. It’s a wonderful feeling when we put that ear bud in the ear to clean our Earwax. It’s normal for your body to secrete earwax also known as Cerumen. An earwax is protective in nature, it keeps away dirt and dust from the ear. Here are 11 interesting facts about earwax and how it is related to your ear health:

1.Earwax is not a wax:

The name earwax came because of its sticky feel, but it is not a wax. It comprises of skin cells, dirt, dust, sweat and sebum (an emission from the body made up of fat). Whenever, the dead cells drop off, they all come together to make earwax. Earwax comprises of two glands i.e. the ceruminous gland, which is a sweat gland and the sebaceous gland, which excretes oil, that helps in moisturizing the skin.

2. Protects your ears:

It acts as a filter and protects your ear from dirt, dust and bacteria from entering inside. Since, wax is sticky in nature, it gathers tiny dust particles that can get find its way to your auditory canal. A foreign particle can harm the eardrum. The wax prevents the ear from infection due to its protective hurdle.

3. Act as an insect repellant:

The odor of earwax is very strong, therefore it keeps the germs and microbes away. The gumminess catches those bugs that by chance enters inside the ear.

4. Different kinds of Earwax:

Earwax can be wet or dry, which entirely depends on genetics. The wet one is usually dark yellow and sticky, whereas the dry one is flaky and light in color.

5. Can lead to hearing issues:

When earwax starts to accumulate in your ears, it can cause hearing issues, the procedure is called as Impaction. The signs are itchiness, buzzing in the ear, loss of hearing, pain in the ear and cough. But after cleaning the wax,  if the hearing issue still remains, then you should visit a doctor.

6. Low level of earwax is a not a good sign:

When we clean our ears overly, it can cause itching. Getting an earwax is a natural process, the itch is a sign that your ear is dry. Since, a wax acts as a moisturizer, so cleaning it often will make the skin dry and scratchy.

7. Excess of wax is bad:

An excess amount of earwax can lead to short term hearing loss. When you push the wax inside either with a pen or pencil or cotton bud, the sound won’t be able to travel to the inner ear. This process is disturbed due to accumulation of earwax obstruction.

Courtesy pic: www.momjunction.com

8. Color of the wax:

The thickness of the wax will depend on your work lifestyle and diet. If you work in dirty atmosphere, then the wax color will be dark. If you don’t clean your ear for a longer period of time, then also the wax color will be dark.

9. Watch what you put inside the ear:

Avoid putting stuff like paper clips, cotton buds, bobby pins, pens and other sharp objects inside your ears, to clean your ear. All this can push the wax further deep in your ears, which can cause harm.

10. Cleaning of ear wax:

Your ear can do a better cleaning job its own. Clean the outer part of the ear canal by using a washcloth. You can also put baby oil or glycerin to make the wax soft. You can also buy over the counter ear cleaning kit to get rid of the extra wax. But don’t use cotton buds or any sharp object and also don’t try ear candling.

11. Color of your wax says it all

  • White, dry, flaky ear wax is a sign, that you don’t have a body-odor creating chemical, but if its stick and darker in color, it’s an indication you should start using a perfume.
  • Dark brown wax, with a hint of red color, is a sign of an injury
  • Black or dark brown earwax indicates that its quite old, and the color is because of the gathered dirt and dust particles.
  • Light brown or yellow earwax, is very normal and considered as healthy. Usually children have such kind of wax color inside their ear.
Courtesy pic: nypost.com

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