Earwax Tips

by Jacob Sanders MS3 University of Missouri School of Medicine Springfield Campus

There is no doubt that good hygiene is an important part of good health. But sometimes in our attempt to do something good, we can end up causing a problem. This can certainly be the case when it comes to trying to clean inside ears with cotton-tipped swabs. Cotton-tipped swabs push the earwax further into the ear canal and can cause cerumen impaction or injury to the eardrum, doing more harm than good. So, here is a quick overview of ear hygiene…

What is earwax and why do we have it? Earwax (aka cerumen) is normal and healthy. Everyone has it. New earwax is soft and golden yellow in color. Older earwax becomes dryer and darker brown. It is made by special glands in the ear to line and protect the skin of the ear canal. Earwax provides a natural water-proof coating and has bacteria-killing properties.

Ear Canals are designed to be self-cleaning. Earwax slowly moves toward the outside of the ear, carrying dirt and debris with it. Over time the earwax becomes dry and falls out the ear naturally. Generally, earwax does not need to be removed unless it is causing problems. Or a doctor may need to remove it to see into the ear. Some people may produce more earwax than others, and they may require periodic cleaning.






























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