May 24, 2024

People Are Learning The Hard Way That Removing Your Own Earwax Is Not Healthy

Earwax may look gross, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad for you, in fact, it plays an important role in the sensitive ear canal. Unfortunately, it is now common to wage war against earwax and many people are unknowingly making their ear health worse by over-cleaning with unsafe tools.

Put down the cotton bud and listen up: it’s time to make peace with your headphones.

What is earwax?

Earwax is a natural secretion that comes from a mixture of glands in the skin cells that line the ear canal. It’s called cerumen in clinical settings, and you’ll find it in everyone’s ear regardless of their hygiene regimen.

Although the orange-brown goop may not look very clean, it keeps the skin of the ear canal soft and healthy and also forms a cord. protective acidic layer. This kills potentially harmful pathogens such as bacteria and fungi, contributing to a healthy and infection-free environment.

Earwax is a mixture of harmless ingredients including oil, sweat, dead skin cells, and the odd dust particle, but it can cause problems. Too much can lead to a collision, which causes hearing problems – but, ironically, the steps people take to get rid of earwax can make this worse.

Earwax blocking the ear canal

Affection is more common in people with narrow ear canals, those who frequently wear things in their ears such as noise canceling plugs or hearing aids, or who use cotton swabs. That’s right, running the gladiator cotton swab down your ear canal could actually build up earwax instead of getting rid of it.

The body cleans earwax naturally, releasing cells that gradually move closer to the outside of the ear until it falls off or gets brushed up during normal washing. When you cut in with a cotton bud, you force the gradual conveyor belt of earwax and dead skin cells back into the ear canal where it is more likely to build up and cause problems.

So, that begs the question…

Do you need to clean your ears?

“It’s important to remember that earwax is natural and helpful to the body. It is not always necessary to remove it,” suggests an article published in Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. “You don’t need to do anything if you don’t have earwax buildup symptoms that prevent your health care provider from examining your ears.”

Ironically, many brands of cotton buds state on the packaging that they are not suitable for ear cleaning, but we people love to ignore safety warnings. Besides causing a collision, you run the risk of slipping too far and damaging the eardrum – a paper-thin membrane that separates your outer from your inner ear and helps you hear.

Symptoms such as itching, fullness, muffled hearing, fluid, or pain in the ear are worth checking out with your healthcare provider, but when it comes to keeping your ears clean, it seems less thanks to an old ear good.

[H/T: Popular Science]

The content of this article is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Fact checkers verify that all “explainer” articles are accurate at the time of publication. Text, images and links can be edited, removed, or added at a later date to keep information up to date

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