Earwax isn't unique to us! All mammals have it in their ear canals. This yellowish, waxy substance isn't our enemy. Although excessive amounts can lead to hearing loss by pressing on the ear drum normal amounts provide us a defense against fungi and bacteria!
Let's learn about and appreciate this simple-looking substance more!
1. There is a popular and false belief that this substance, which is also known as 'cerumen,' is dirty. No, earwax is the primary reason why our ears stay clean.
2. Thanks to its content, it filters out dust and other substances like shampoo and protects our ears from getting infected.
3. And we also have to thank our earwax for getting rid of the dead skin cells piling up in our ears, which are basically dead end streets.
4. The exact chemical content varies from person to person and also depends on diet, ethnicity, age, and environment.
5. Earwax is vital for our ears to work properly. That's why it is a mistake to get rid of it.
6. Our ears are completely capable of cleaning themselves, thus we don't have to -actually should not- put extra effort into cleaning them.
7. This self-cleaning mechanism may break down. In this case the chemical substances can become stuck on their way out of the ear canal.
8. Some people have ears with sharp curves that prevent earwax from getting out. That's why it can pile up in the ear canal.
9. Ear buds do not clean our ears, but push the earwax deeper, which is the opposite of what we and our ears want.
10. Normally our ears are also capable of getting rid of this earwax that has been pushed deeper, but if our ears fail to do so, the build-up can cause problems over years.
11. If the eardrum is affected by this situation, it can cause tinnitus.
12. Pushing earwax deeper in the ear canal mostly causes pain, discomfort, and infections.
13. Also, the buildup of earwax deeper in the ear canal can mess up the vibrations of the eardrum and therefore cause hearing problems.
14. Almost any attempt you make to 'clean' your ear will affect your ear negatively.
15. Every year, around 150 people in USA are hospitalized because they have damaged their eardrums while 'cleaning' their ears.
16. This kind of damage to the eardrum rarely heals by itself, however, it almost always causes permanent deafness or hearing problems.
17. If you really really really want to clean your ears, you should only clean your earlap and never ever insert anything into your ear canal.