Earwax can be Soft and sticky, and it is not the most skilful of conversational topics
We all have it, but who wants to talk about it? We do! So get an earful of these earwax facts.
What Is Earwax Made Of?
Earwax (scientific name cerumen) is a combination of oily skin cells from inside of the ear, and secretions from the glands in the outer ear canal.
Do You Know Your Earwax Type?
Earwax comes in two types – Wet and Dry. The kind you have depends on genetics.
People of North-eastern Asian descendants, especially those from China or Korea, tend to have dry ear wax, while the earwax of people from other regions is wet.
Earwax Cleans Up After Itself
Thanks to earwax, our ears are self-cleaning. Whenever you move your jaw or chew, you help keep earwax churning slowly from the eardrum to the ear opening, where it will then either dry up, flake off, or fall out.
Your Ears Are “No Trespassing” Zones
Since our ears are self-cleaning, we should never, ever stick anything in them! That includes those cotton-tipped swabs (Cotton Bud) that seem perfectly designed to fit inside the narrow ear canal.
Keep these swabs and any other objects – including your fingers – out of your ears. When you put something in your ear – to scratch an itch or to attempt to remove wax – you risk pushing wax further into the ear, where it can become blocked.
How Earwax Is Like Tears
Earwax lubricates our ears, in much the same way as tears lubricate our eyes. Without adequate amounts of earwax, our ears would feel dry and itchy.
Pay Attention; No candles!
In an attempt to clear excess wax, some people have tried ear candling. In-ear candling, a person lies on his or her side while a long cone-shaped candle is nestled just inside of the ear canal.
The candle is then set aflame and, it is claimed, the warmth will soften and suction out the wax. Ear candling does not have any proven benefit and can cause burns, wax blockage, and punctured eardrums.
How Earwax Affects Hearing
Blocked earwax is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. This can happen if the wax is pushed back toward the eardrum or if the ears produce more earwax than is needed.
Symptoms of impacted earwax include earache, dizziness, feeling of fullness in the ear, a sensation that the ear is plugged, and ringing in the ear. Your ear may also itch, have an odour, or emit a discharge.
Ear Cleaning Best Tips
If you suspect that your ears are blocked by excess earwax, you can seek a doctor’s assistance in clearing it.
Make an appointment with your doctor if home treatments do not help or if your hearing has diminished.
If you use hearing aids or are prone to blockage, you might choose to set up regular preventive ear-cleaning appointments with your doctor.