Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Ear Wax

Yuck!  Let’s talk about ear wax, otherwise known as cerumen, a gross fact of life that actually has some pretty incredible properties!

Ear was exists to keep the skin of the ear canal (external auditory meatus) lubricated and protected from dirt, bacteria, fungi, and all other kinds of nasty things.  A little bit of naturally occurring ear wax is a good thing!

Did you know that the skin in your ear canal actually grows outward to “push” the wax out on its own?  So step away from the q-tips, which only push wax farther back into the ear canal where it can get stuck and cause occlusion and even conductive hearing loss.  Same story for “ear candling” — stay away!  I’ve even seen a commercial for an “earwax vacuum” recently.  Save your money and your poor ears!

To remove ear wax on your own, just dry your ears with a towel after bathing.  If that doesn’t do the trick, pour in a little warm water, tilt your head to the side, let it sit for a minute or two, then dry your ear out with a towel.  Still feeling plugged up?  Consult your audiologist or ENT.  Remember, also, that ear wax can get into hearing aid tubing and really affect the quality of sound.  Make sure to clean your/your child’s earmold tubing nightly to get the very best sound out of your hearing aids.

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