Why Your Ears Cannot Operate Without The Wax
The glands inside the ear secrete earwax (cerumen). It is a mixture of fatty acids, dead skin cells, cholesterol, lysozyme, squalene, and alcohols. Such, earwax is technically not ‘wax’, but a compound made up of water-soluble secretions.
Most people do not give much thought or attention to their earwax not knowing that it is one of the most ingenious protective mechanisms produced by the body. Therefore, it is unwise to preserve earwax as unhygienic; it is far from being a nuisance substance in the ear.
The production of the wax in your ears is consistent therefore needs to be checked to ensure there is an appropriate amount of it in the ear canals. Excesses of the wax can lead to blockage, but this is not very common. As such, it is best not to try and remove the earwax using cotton swabs or different devices. We have just recently published an overview over the most effectve ear wax cleaning tools.
Too much wax in the ears is not healthy, but having too little of it makes the ears feel dry and itchy. That shows that importance of the earwax, to lubricate the canals and to offer protection. The wax does this by:
• Keeping bacteria, dust, and germs from reaching the inner ear and causing damage
• Trapping the bacteria and dust
• Slowing the growth and spread of bacteria and germs inside the ear
• Protecting the ear canal from effects of water
Your Ears Are Self-Cleaning
The ears are naturally designed to take care of themselves; they are self-cleaning therefore you should keep the cotton swabs away. The wax works as a cleaning agent. The AAO – HNSF (American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery Foundation, under ideal conditions the ear canals should not be cleaned
Excess wax is pushed out of the ear canal due to the natural migration of skin cells. Also, the movements caused by chewing and talking that reach the ear canals also aid in the expulsion of excess earwax. The excess wax will fall out of the ear or be washed away when you bath or take a shower.
The unfortunate thing is many people things that they should clean out the earwax routinely; this is mostly based on misplaced and misinformed personal hygiene beliefs. Putting anything inside the ear, be it a bobby pin or a cotton swab can result in damage to the canal, impaction of the earwax, internal trauma, or temporary deafness. The efforts to remove the wax may only push the earwax further inside the canal causing blockages.
How Wet or Dry Is The Wax?
How wet or dry the earwax is is a matter subject to genetics. Research shows that you either have a wet or dry wax based on your genes.
• Wet earwax is brown or yellow and with a sticky texture.
• Dry earwax has a light colour that ranges from tan to grey and with a crumbly texture.
One particular gene determines the type of earwax a person has, and this is subject to the individual’s family background. Wet earwax is common in Europeans and Africans while dry earwax is mostly in people from East Asia. The gene responsible for dry earwax is also associated with the low production of underarm odour amongst Asians, namely the Japanese, Chinese and Koreans.
Interestingly, the earwax from Caucasians has more odorous compounds that a believed can even help detect diseases; this is according to research that measured the concentration of twelve volatile compounds in the wax from white men compared against that of men from East Asia.