Our body excretes different excreta that are usually gross. But among those, earwax is the most essential. Very few people know the good properties of earwax. But it is really mysterious from where the earwax is produced.
The medical term for earwax is cerumen, a naturally occurring substance in the outer ear. Earwax consists of oil, sweat mixed with dirt and dead skin cells.
That is why they are sticky and smelly but they provide the at most care for the ears. The following are the three attributes of earwax:
- Earwax is a natural barrier which prevents dirt and bacteria from entering the innermost parts of your ears. Because it is sticky, it collects microscopic debris which finds its way into your ear canal, much like flypaper traps insects. Without this defensive barrier, your inner ear would be at risk.
- It acts as a moisturizer and protective coating for your ear canal. Without earwax, your outer ear might be itchy and flaky, which puts it at greater risk for becoming irritated and infected.
- It acts as an insect repellant. The smell of earwax keeps bugs away, while the stickiness traps those which accidentally venture inside.
What Does Your Earwax Say About Your Health?
Although everyone’s ears produce earwax, the composition of the earwax varies from person to person. This depends on their environment, diet, etc. There are two types of wax namely, wet and dry.
- Wet cerumen appears in Caucasians and Africans
- Dry cerumen appears in Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Asians.
The color of the cerumen also varies from person to person.
- Dark brown or black colored earwax is typically older, so its color comes from the dirt and bacteria it has trapped. Adults tend to have darker, harder earwax.
- Dark brown earwax which is tinged with red may signal a bleeding injury.
- Light brown, orange or yellow earwax is healthy and normal. Children tend to have softer, lighter-colored earwax.
- White, flaky earwax indicates you lack a body-odor producing chemical.
- Dark-colored, sticky earwax indicates you should probably use deodorant.
Earwax is a Good Thing
Usually, every human body is programmed to produce the right amount of earwax according to the body’s condition. Along as a person maintains a healthy diet, have good hygiene and move one’s jaw, the ears will produce more earwax.
When a person has a frequent habit of cleaning the ears, then the ear sends a signal to the body to produce more wax. This can aid in ear infections leading to greater risks like hearing loss etc.
Other reasons for excess secretion of earwax are stress and fear. Others who have a tendency to produce too much earwax include those:
- With a lot of hair in their ear canals.
- Who suffer from chronic ear infections.
- Who have abnormally-formed ear canals or osteomata?
- Who are elderly, have certain skin conditions or certain learning disabilities.
Procedure to Clean Your Ears Safely
- Do not clean your ear with a cotton swab, hairpin or any sharp instrument since they might damage your eardrum.
- Do not use ear candling. It can cause burns, wax blockage, punctured eardrums, and other serious injuries.
There are a few things to keep the eardrums free from debris. They are the following:
- Wash your ears using a warm, soapy washcloth. Letting warm water from your daily shower run into your ears every so often is probably enough to soften and loosen excess earwax.
- If your ears are healthy and you don’t have any tubes or eardrum perforations, you can try to clear excess earwax yourself using an over-the-counter ear cleaning kit.
- Has your hearing evaluated annually by a hearing healthcare professional? Ask your family physician for a referral, or search our online directory for a trusted professional in your community. Besides advising you on your hearing health, they will be able to detect excess cerumen and may safely remove it.
- See a doctor immediately if your home treatments don’t help or if you experience sudden hearing loss, pain or bleeding.