Everyone knows what earwax looks and feels like. From gray to brown, its color can vary among populations across the world. It appears out of nowhere and in significant clumps too. Earwax shouldn’t be perceived as a nuisance, however, because it offers numerous benefits to the human body. In particular, your ear health depends upon this unique secretion. Learn more about earwax and its significance in your life. It’s more important than you might realize.
Cleaning Out the Ear
The most common benefit of earwax is its cleaning ability. Your ears are actually self-cleaning tissues. This efficient process is a wonder within the human body’s physiology.
Unlike your mouth or eyes, the ears cannot be protected from the outside environment. They’re always open to the world. As a result, evolution has made it possible for the ears to clean themselves as they remain useful every second of the day.
As the earwax moves from the outer ear canal to the exterior world, it forces contaminants away from your middle ear. This cleaning action is continual so most experts agree that cleaning your ears isn’t really necessary. The earwax performs this action for you.
Breaking Down the Internal Properties
Earwax comes from the glands within your ear. These substances make up earwax, including:
- Fatty acids
You’ll also find dead skin cells within the secretion, which is another form of cleansing the ear. All of these earwax ingredients contribute to antifungal and antibacterial activities that ultimately protect the ear.
As earwax makes its way out of the canal, it will slough off during bathing or other motions. It appears as a benign agent, but it clearly contributes to a healthy body. Your hearing depends on your earwax presence.
Protecting the Canal
Everyone has had a sore or itchy throat. At times, it feels as if there’s a feather tickling you in that location. Scratching it through coughing is the best way to deal with the itchiness.
Your ears may be itchy at times, but most of this sensation is controlled by the earwax. Any dryness or itchiness present along the ear canal is quickly calmed by the ear wax production and movement. In fact, your chewing and speaking actions contribute to its movement through the ear canal.
The body needs this canal protection from itchiness so that you aren’t tempted to relieve it with objects or fingers. Your ear is largely a sensitive organ so the earwax protective measures are nature’s way of controlling any damage to the tissues.
Moisturizing the Skin
Your ears are open to the elements. They deal with water, dryness and other sensations. Earwax operates as a moisturizer. It’s constantly being produced by the body so that it moves at a relatively steady rate across the canal. Whether you just took a shower or decided to hike in a dry desert, the ears have a protective barrier from the changing elements.
Without earwax, the canal might decline at a rapid rate with dead skin and cracked conditions prevailing. Unless a person has a particular ailment, their ears work well through the decades.
Shielding the Eardrum
Consider the openness of the ear canal. If there was no secretion barrier, anything could enter the ear. The eardrum is particularly sensitive to damage. For this reason, it’s hidden deep within the canal. The earwax becomes a barrier to contaminants entering the canal, which protects the eardrum around the clock.
The eardrum is responsible for the vibrations heard through sound waves. It must move without any hindrances so that you can hear a person speak or listen to nature. Earwax is priceless when it comes to eardrum protection.
When you were a child, ear infections may have been an issue. Developing bodies have ear canals that are prone to infection as they lengthen out. Infections might be worse among children or into adulthood without earwax.
You’ve probably felt how sticky earwax can be too. It traps dust and other minute particles. It also has the ability to capture germs, such as infectious strains. Earwax isn’t a perfect barrier to germs, but it does a good job to keep you healthy most of the time.
Dealing With Everyday Earwax
In most cases, there’s no need to clean away earwax. It develops, moves down the canal and sloughs away on its own. Many people use cotton swabs after a shower as a way to clean and dry the ears. The majority of doctors prefer a hands-off approach.
Let the earwax move as it will. Don’t help it along. Using any type of tool within the ear canal can create more problems than it solves. Allowing nature to take its course is always the best answer to your hygiene concerns.
There can be buildup in the ear over time. It should break down without any help from you, but some people are simply prone to excess earwax.
Your doctor can help you build a hygienic plan that doesn’t irritate the canal. A professional may need to be consulted on a regular basis too. Simply stay away from any cotton swabs. Regardless of your earwax situation, they’re not a safe alternative.
Being Aware of Differences
Earwax differs among certain populations, but the various earwax types perform the same duties for the human body.
Your genetic makeup creates these earwax differences. Earwax doesn’t typically change color with sickness or health either. The secretion glands are relatively steady with their earwax production. Simply being aware of your heritage helps you know what’s normal or different about your ear secretions.
If you need an evaluation, feel free to schedule an appointment with one of the several specialists at Becker ENT Center. Many of these professionals have spoken at academic institutions worldwide like Stanford and Penn, or written ENT articles for their peers in the medical world. Their highly skilled team specializes in ear, nose and throat issues on a daily basis in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Learn all about these professionals by visiting www.beckerent.com.