Oil. Sweat. Dirt. Dead skin. While you may scrub this stuff off your face, you actually want it in your ears. It may sound mildly disgusting, but earwax is essential for maintaining healthy hearing.
What is earwax?
That unappetising blend of bodily waste acts as a natural barrier that prevents dirt and bacteria from entering the inner caverns of your ears.
How does it help you?
We know the colour is a little…icky. And does it have to be so smelly? And Sticky? Yes, actually, as its stickiness helps collect debris that’s too small to see and prevents it from entering your ear canal. Earwax’s unbecoming scent repels insects that may be tempted to nest inside your ears. And wax does have one decent characteristic – its moisturising qualities keep your ears soft, which not only makes them more aesthetically pleasing, but also prevents infections that could be caused by scratching and skin flakes.
What if you have excess?
Stress and fear actually speed the production of earwax, so we wouldn’t be surprised if there’s more of it around nowadays! External factors aside, excess hair, chronic ear infections, abnormal canals, osteomata, old age, and certain skin conditions also contribute to excess ear secretions. To safely clean your ears, you can wash them with a warm, soapy cloth or let shower water run into them every so often. Over-the-counter clearing kits can also help, as well as regular visits to a hearing care professional Remember to never use cotton swabs to clean your ears though as these can pose risks. To find out more read our article about the dangers of cotton swabs.