If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give too much thought to earwax. You might even think it’s gross. But it can be fascinating in its own way, too. And if you want to maintain the health of your ears, it pays to learn a thing or two about earwax. Today, we’re going to share a few surprising or otherwise interesting facts about earwax.
Has the Technical Term ‘Cerumen’
In the medical world, you’re likely to come across a few technical terms for words you’re already familiar with. To give you a couple of examples: sleepwalking is technically referred to as ‘somnambulism.’ For an even stranger one, check out this technical term for hairball: ‘trichobezoar.’
There’s a technical term for earwax too—‘cerumen.’ But in everyday speech, you’re probably better off just sticking to ‘earwax.’
It Keeps Your Ears Clean
Here’s one of the most interesting facts about earwax. Most people associate earwax with unclean ears, but this is actually a bit of a misconception. The truth is that a healthy amount of earwax keeps your ears clean. Earwax isn’t just dead skin like so many people assume. In fact, it is a substance secreted by your ears specifically to trap dust and other particles that can damage the inner workings of your ear.
There Are Two Kinds: Wet and Dry
When you were learning about basic genetics in school, you probably were given the example of the widow’s peak, or loose vs. attached earlobes. Few educators use the example of earwax. But maybe they should.
There are two basic kinds of earwax that are determined by genetics: wet or dry. Generally, wet earwax is more common among those with European or African descent. Individuals whose ancestors come from Asia or the Americas more commonly have dry earwax.
It Can Cause Hearing Loss
Earlier, one of our facts about earwax was that it helps to keep your ears clean. This is true, but you should be aware that too much earwax is not a good thing. Excessive buildup of this otherwise helpful substance can even cause hearing loss.
This is not to say that you should use cotton swabs regularly; in fact, those are best avoided. Normally, your ear has the ability to regulate its earwax levels naturally. But sometimes something interferes in this process. If you’re experiencing such symptoms as darkened earwax, ear pain, or a reduction in hearing ability, professional earwax removal might be the solution for you.
Contact Bay Area Audiology Today for Earwax Removal
Ready to do something about your hearing loss? Our Doctor of Audiology, Dr. Trisha A. Bents Muth, is exceptionally experienced in the art of audiology, and provides the absolute best solutions. Bay Area Audiology has been working to give patients a comfortable environment with thorough evaluations. We are independently owned, and unbiased when it comes to finding you the care you need.
You can always come into the office or contact us in advance to set up an appointment. We also provide updates on our social media websites. You can check out our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to keep up with Bay Area Audiology.
Don’t hesitate–we can help.