Earwax: Healthy or Harmful?
The human body is considered one of the most mysterious secrets of science. The perfect harmony in which the different bodily functions work together to support an organism and keep it alive, the beautiful inter-dependence of man on nature and vice versa, and the enigmatic microbiology existing in each and every tiny cell building up a human being are some of the facets of life that stimulate intrigue.
However, not all aspects of biology are as beautiful or exciting. If you’re anything like the typical person who will definitely find quite a few things about the human body a little bit gross. Take for example the numerous secretions our bodies make every day. Whether it is sweat or mucus, each secretion has a purpose. Perhaps one of the most underrated or lesser-known substances produced by the human body is earwax. While some of you might find it icky and gross, many would be fascinated by its extraordinary properties.
Things you should know about earwax
One of the primary facts that must be stated here is that scientists have actually designated a serious-sounding name for this sticky liquid in our ears. Earwax is medically known as cerumen and is defined as the naturally occurring substance in the outer ear. It comprises of a concoction of oil and sweat mixed with dirt and dead skin cells. These ingredients give it a sticky and smelly property, which is exactly what makes earwax so beneficial to us.
Being sticky helps earwax trap dirt from entering the sensitive inner ear, which would otherwise be at high risk of being infected by all the bacteria that could enter from our surroundings. Earwax acts as a defensive barrier safeguarding against dust, tiny insects, flying debris, bacteria and other harmful substances in the environment around us. Being smelly doesn’t hurt either. The nasty smell of earwax repels bugs that try to venture inside your ears. Imagine tiny spiders and bed bugs crawling inside your ears while you sleep. Earwax protects against that.
Best methods to clean earwax
Contrary to common belief, using cotton swabs is not the safest way to remove earwax from your ears. As amazing as it may feel, using cotton swabs does more harm than good. Your body has its own natural cycle of removing excess earwax from the outer ear while your sleep or while your shower. Poking cotton swabs can do the opposite. It can push the earwax further into the ear canal where it can accumulate, harden and cause hearing loss.
Therefore, the right way to clean out earwax is to use a clean and wet washcloth to gently clean out the outer ear. This is especially effective after a nice, warm shower that helps loosen out the earwax safely. There are also over-the-counter ear cleaning kits available to help you remove the wax at home.
If you are struggling with consistent wax buildup or are experiencing hearing difficulties, schedule a visit with an audiologist in your area to ensure your ears are working in optimal order.