Have you always thought of earwax as gross? You’re in good company, but it’s important to note that your earwax is a necessary part of your body and contributes to good ear health. While there are times when earwax can build up, in most instances your ears are in fact self-cleaning. You may find that you need to clean the outer ear to remove excess, but you should never use a cotton swab inside your ear canal. Not only can you cause damage, but you may be pushing wax further into your ear and causing worse buildup. Today we’ll take a look at some earwax facts to help you get a better understanding of its importance.
What Is Earwax?
Our bodies produce all kinds of odd secretions, like mucus, and tears. Just like ear wax, they all serve essential functions. Earwax is made up of dead skin, hair, and dirt that makes its way into the ear canal. Not only does it help to protect your ears from bacteria and fungi, but it can help keep your ears from getting too itchy and dry also.
Why Is It Sticky?
You’ve likely noticed that earwax has a sticky texture; often it feels like a glob of glue. This is due to its role as a deterrent to all sorts of problems and pests. The stickiness ensures that the interior of your ear is well coated to prevent bacteria while also keeping small insects away. Not only does the smell deter any insect pests, but the texture acts as a flytrap as well.
What Do Different Colors Mean?
Different colors of earwax can mean different things. Children generally have lightly colored yellow or slightly orange wax with a soft texture. As you age your earwax color changes to be darker and a little thicker as you will have a buildup of bacteria and dirt.
When Should You Worry?
If you notice that you seem to be producing excessive amounts of earwax or if the color changes dramatically. Dark brown wax tinged with red, runny and cloudy, or black wax are all signs that professional care is needed. Additionally, if you have a buildup of wax, you may need to see a doctor to have it removed professionally.
Contact Bay Area Audiology Today for Your Newborn’s Hearing Screening!
If you are concerned about hearing loss or seeking hearing evaluations, tinnitus evaluations, or hearing aid assistance, our doctors are ready to help. We are passionate about helping all of our patients improve their quality of life through better hearing. We also believe that patient education is critical so that you won’t be lead through endless sales pitches at our office. If you are interested in hearing how we can help you hear even better, contact us at (410) 838-4327 or online. For more hearing tips and articles, follow Bay Area Audiology on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.