6 Things You Never Knew About Earwax

Most of us have earwax, but few of us know very much about it. After all, most of us consider it to be gross, and it’s hardly the kind of thing you talk bout over the dinner table with friends, so it’s not surprising that many of us remain ignorant about the viscous substance. Let’s change that by taking a look at earwax, how it relates to your health, and everything else you need to know about it…

doctor examining a man's ear for earwax

1. It’s actually called cerumen

Although pretty much everyone calls it earwax, its medical term is cerumen, just so you know if you want to sound smart in the doctor’s office!

2. It’s not even wax

Yes, earwax is not even wax. What is it? A mixture of sebum, skin cells, dirt, and sweat. I think I preferred it when I thought it was a wax!

3. It is a common cause of hearing loss

When you experience hearing loss, it can be really worrying, and you might feel devastated, but you should hold off until you’ve seen an audiologist. Why? Because earwax is a really common, and temporary, cause of hearing loss. All you have to do is have your ears professionally cleaned, and the was expunged, and you could be hearing perfectly again.

4. You shouldn’t remove it with Q-tips

If you’re one of those people who loves having a good rummage in your ear with a Q-tip, or anything else for that matter, to see how much wax you can get out, you need to stop right now because it could be really bad for your health. Why? Because you could end up performing your eardrum, which would be very painful, to say the least, and could potentially lead to hearing issues in the longer term too. Use an ear spray or have a professional cleaning carried out if you have waxy ears and stay safe.

5. Earwax is actually good for you

Most of us think that earwax is a bad thing, and too much of it can be, for sure, as we discussed above, but actually, earwax is a positive thing for your aural health. The ear produces wax in order to both clean itself and protect itself, which makes it pretty important, I’m sure you’ll agree.

How is earwax made? The ear secretes wax from glands located in the skin of your ear canals. The wax then, along with small hairs in the ear, helps to trump foreign objects, such as dust, from penetrating the inner ear system where it could do a whole lot of damage.

6. Earwax can change color

If your earwax changes color there is no need to panic because it can be a perfectly normal process. For example, if you work in a dirty environment, it may become darker, or if you change your diet, it could become lighter or darker depending on what you eat. That being said, if you are worried about changes to your earwax, there’s nothing wrong with getting it checked out.

There you go, earwax is way more interesting than you thought!

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