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Five Things You Never Knew About Earwax

Ear-Wax-Hearing-Loss-Audicus 

Earwax, or cerumen, is not usually the cause for much speculation. Ignoring it for too long, however, can have major effects on your memory and health, especially with hearing aids. The sticky substance has also made its mark on culture and global populations. Here are five interesting facts about the wax:

Your IQ Depends On Earwax

What’s today’s date, month and year? Take a paper in your hand, fold it in half, and put it on the floor. These items, part of the Mini-Mental Status Exam (MMSE), sound easy enough, but not if you have too much wax in your ears. A 2002 study of adults older than 65 whose ears were clogged with wax found that removing earwax improved their overall MMSE scores, while leaving it in caused difficulty with simple commands and questions.

Hair and Tear

Too much earwax is most often caused by having too much hair (especially in men), or wearing hearing aids. Using Q-tips to clean your ears can actually push wax further into the ear canal and cause impaction, or possibly rupture the eardrum.

Bye Bye Bacteria

But wait – don’t clean out your ears too fast. A moderate amount of earwax is good for you. Cells on the surface of your ear canal release earwax to protect the area from ear infections. Several scientific studies have found that earwax has the ability to kill bacteria such as the infamous E. Coli, Staph. Aureus, and H. Influenzae.

Pucker Up

Stuck on a cold wintery day with dry, chapped lips? No problem – smear on some earwax, allegedly the original lip balm. Earwax is known to relieve itching, burning and prevent wound formation, which are the primary uses for lip balms like ChapStick and Blistex.

Where are Your Ears From?

Depending on the consistency of your earwax, you can trace your ethnic origin. A 2006 study from Nature Genetics made headlines for discovering that East Asians have a gene mutation that makes their earwax dry. Researchers believe the mutated gene may be an adaptation to the cold Asian climate by lessening sweat. The study found that wet and sticky is an indication of African or European descent.

It’s important to clean your ears properly to prevent earwax accumulation, but keep a healthy supply handy. Don’t clean your ears everyday, and only clean the outer part of your ear using warm water. If you have hearing aids, make sure to clean them routinely.

by Estie Neff

2 responses to “Five Things You Never Knew About Earwax

  1. Don’t use cotton swabs!!! They’ll only push wax faehtrr into the ear canal. This causes wax build up and temporary hearing loss, and he’ll eventially end up at an ear specialist for a spring cleaning. Those instruments really hurt. There’s a lot of picking and poking going on. Try to imagine that. Those little cotton ends on swabs have been known to fall off and get lodged into the canal. How would you get that out? Ear specialist!!Ears are self cleaning. Let them do their job.My family dr told me years ago that the only thing you’re supposed to stick in your ear is your elbow.

  2. AFT ER READING YOUR COMMENTARY, HOW SHOULD YOU CLEAR EXCESS WAX FROM YOUR EARS? YOU HAVE NOT ANSWERED THE QUESTION

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