The Truth about Earwax
11-08-2015 | Posted By: Admin | 2092 View(s)
Human beings are divine creation with so much wonder hidden in the smallest parts of the body, that it will put us in awe. So, something as mundane and ‘disgusting’ as our earwax too is an essential protective mechanism, which the body adapts.
Probably, even the eyelashes have priority over our earwax, because let’s face it, it is not the kind of conversation starter we wait for, but just like the eyelashes, it’s the earwax which keeps your ears healthy and moist for it to perform.
The other name for earwax or the scientific name of it is cerumen. It mostly consists of the skin cells present inside the ear which have been sloughed off, sebum and the secretion created by the ceruminous glands present in the outer ear. All of this, when combined, is the kind of protective layer which your ear canal would require.
Now, how much do you invest to take care of your ear? Do you, at all? Well, instead of swabbing away this earwax off from your ears let them protect you.
The protective waste, if we may call it, the earwax helps to keep at bay the invasion of various dirt, bacteria or materials which may cause inflation, irritations or any discomfort in your ear.
The ear canal being moist keeps it healthy because that is how it is supposed to be and if the secretion or the accumulation is not enough, it might cause the ear to dry up and be itchy. So instead try to let the earwax do its wonder.
The Composition of Earwax
Earwax is a waxy, yellowish substance that is secreted by the ceruminous glands lining the ear canal. It is composed of a blend of shed skin cells, hair, and secretions from these specialized glands. Its texture can range from soft and moist to hard and dry, depending on factors such as genetics, age, and environmental conditions.
Within earwax lies a variety of beneficial components. These include lysozymes, an enzyme with antimicrobial properties that help protect the ear from bacterial and fungal infections. Additionally, earwax serves as a natural lubricant, preventing the ear canal from becoming dry and itchy.
The Crucial Functions of Earwax
Earwax is not merely an unsightly secretion, but a vital component of our aural health. Its multifaceted functions include:
1. Cleaning and Lubrication
Earwax serves as a self-cleaning mechanism for the ear canal. As the jaw moves during activities like chewing and talking, it gradually pushes older earwax from the ear canal towards the opening, where it eventually dries up and falls out. This action helps remove dust, debris, and dead skin cells, effectively preventing them from reaching the delicate eardrum.
2. Barrier Against Infections
Earwax creates a protective barrier against foreign invaders like bacteria and fungi. The antimicrobial properties of lysozymes in earwax help thwart potential infections, shielding the ear canal from harmful microorganisms.
3. Moisturization and pH Regulation
The ceruminous glands within the ear canal regulate the moisture levels and pH balance. This prevents the skin in the ear canal from becoming dry, flaky, or overly acidic, which could lead to discomfort or infections.
Common Misconceptions about Earwax
1. Earwax Indicates Poor Hygiene
Contrary to popular belief, earwax is not a sign of poor hygiene. It is a naturally occurring substance that is produced by the body to serve specific functions. In fact, attempts to excessively clean the ears can disrupt the delicate balance of the ear canal and may lead to complications.
2. Q-Tips Are Ideal for Ear Cleaning
Q-tips, cotton swabs specifically designed for cleaning, are often used in an attempt to remove earwax. However, this practice is not recommended by medical professionals. Inserting Q-tips into the ear canal can push earwax deeper, potentially causing blockages or damage to the eardrum.
3. Ear Candling Is Effective
Ear candling is a popular alternative therapy that involves inserting a hollow candle into the ear canal and lighting it. Proponents claim that it creates a vacuum effect, drawing out earwax and impurities. However, scientific evidence does not support the efficacy of this method, and it can be dangerous and lead to injuries.
Proper Care and When to Seek Help
Maintaining healthy ears involves simple practices that respect the natural processes of earwax production and removal:
1.Avoid inserting objects into the ear canal: This includes cotton swabs, bobby pins, or any other sharp or pointed objects. These can cause harm and push earwax deeper.
2.Practice good hygiene: Gently clean the outer part of the ear with a washcloth. Allow water to run into the ear during showers, as this can help soften earwax and facilitate its natural expulsion.
3.Seek professional help if necessary: If you experience symptoms like ear pain, sudden hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), or if earwax blockage is suspected, consult a healthcare provider or an ear specialist. They can safely and effectively address the issue.
Earwax is a remarkable substance that performs vital functions in maintaining our auditory health. It serves as a natural cleanser, protector, and moisturizer for the ear canal. Understanding the truth about earwax dispels common misconceptions and encourages practices that promote healthy ears. By respecting the natural processes and seeking professional help when needed, we can ensure our auditory well-being for years to come.
To continue, from where we had left off, try not to be too frequent with the swabbing away of the earwax with the help of those cotton swabs. Now, no matter how protective it is, it is rather a waste which your body needs to get rid of. Confused? Well, do not be, because when your jaws are moving, this earwax is churning and moving and thus it will be rolling down or be at the very opening of the ear, which will eventually fall off, flake off, or just roll out of the ear canal, once its work is done.
The ear will soon produce such protective layer again, and thus, you need not worry about cleaning them, you are only pushing this earwax inside which will lead to the clogging of the aperture and this is not something which will serve any purpose.
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