What is earwax?
Earwax is a secretion produced by special glands in the outer ear canal. It is produced by humans and most mammals. Its technical name is ‘cerumen’. It is a waxy substance that can either be dry and flaky or sticky and wet. It can range in colour from being yellow/orange to reddish/dark brown.
Why do we need earwax?
Earwax has many important jobs. It moisturizes the skin of the ear canal to prevent dry and itchy ears. It also contains special chemicals that fight off infections and acts as a protective layer that keeps the sensitive eardrum safe.
Can earwax create a blockage?
In most humans, the earwax naturally migrates out of the ear canal and is washed away when we bathe. As the ear canal constantly creates earwax, the skin is always moisturized and protected. However, sometimes there is an excessive build-up of earwax which can cause earaches and a mild loss of hearing. It is best to go visit a doctor, who can prescribe ear drops or safely remove the wax.
Using earbuds or other cleaning tools only pushes the earwax deeper and can cause a blockage or damage to the eardrum.
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