Nobody likes the look and feel of earwax, but did you know it's essential for protecting your ears? Scientists are continuously discovering new ways that earwax, also known as cerumen, preserves our hearing and contains secrets to understanding our general health.
What exactly is earwax?
Oil, sweat, grime, and dead skin cells make up cerumen (earwax). This sticky mixture is the ideal consistency for trapping minute debris and bacteria that may otherwise enter the ear canal and cause inflammation or infection. The primary function of earwax is to protect the fragile hair cells and inner ear from injury.
The many uses of earwax
Earwax not only functions as a barrier to dust and debris but also creates an acidic, antibacterial, and antifungal environment in the ear canal, making potentially hazardous germs unable to grow.
- Its moisturizing properties keep the ear canal from getting too dry, flaky, or irritated.
- It functions as a moisture barrier, preventing water from entering the ear canal and reducing the risk of bacterial infections.
- It assists in the removal of dead skin cells from the ear canal.
- Because of its chemical structure, it naturally repels insects and acts as a sticky "bug trap."
The worst way to clean your ears
Even though our systems commonly know how much earwax to produce, earwax buildups may arise. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, excessive earwax and earwax obstructions afflict around 5% of individuals.
Most individuals create earwax at a pace that sufficiently covers the ear canal while allowing older cerumen to dry and fall out. If you get a stuffy sensation in your ears or a slight hearing loss and suspect it is earwax, don't attempt to remove it with a cotton swab, hairpin, or another sharp object. Cleaning earwax with a cotton swab may lead to blockages by pushing the wax further into the ear canal, where it becomes impacted and cannot naturally exit. When introducing equipment into the ear canal, there is also the danger of puncturing the eardrum.
The best way to clean your ears
Take a hot shower and pour warm water into your ears. This will loosen and soften the earwax, making removal more straightforward.
Clean your ears with a warm, soapy washcloth. Allowing warm shower water to run into your ears now and then should soften and remove any extra earwax.
If your ears are healthy and you don't have a broken eardrum, you may use an over-the-counter ear cleaning kit. You may purchase one at your local pharmacy, but only use it on a kid under the age of 12 after consulting a doctor.
Need professional help? We're here for you!
We offer many ways to remove your earwax and will choose the best path depending on your circumstances. If your home remedies aren't working, please call us so that we may assist you in having the wax professionally removed. Contact us today to set up an appointment. Ear cleaning office visit fee is $99.