What Is Ear Wax For, Anyway?
Ear wax (also known to the “intellectual” as cerumen), is the stuff we all know and love, (well, maybe not love!) It’s that yellowish, waxy stuff in our ears, and even if you find it annoying, it’s there for a good reason.
It coats the inside of your ear canal – and since you’re here reading this, maybe you wish it wasn’t coating the inside of your ear canal quite so much!
But without it, you’d be more likely to have a problem with bacteria, fungi, and yes, even little tiny insects! Ok, put that vision of flypaper out of your head! (If you don't care if you never go to sleep again, click here!)
But it’s a good thing you have it.
The problem is that sometimes you can have too much wax and it can press against the eardrum, or it can block up your ear canal.
And then you can’t hear as well.
(Of course, there can be many other reasons for hearing loss, all the more reason to see your doctor.)
There is a natural movement of this wax outward through the ear canal, (even the movement of your jaw helps). Anything that is trapped in your ear canal is moved out of your ear in this way. (Remember that the next time you decide to give someone a “Wet Willy” ;)
It also seems that there is an antibacterial and antifungal component to ear wax, limiting the growth of bacteria and fungus in your ear. (maybe we can bottle this?)
Bottom line? We definitely need some, but not too much!
Are there other ways that help besides ear candling? Certainly. You can see your doctor, who would most likely syringe your ears with warm water. Or you can go to a specialist who might use a “curette”, a specialized little scoop for removing ear wax. My husband once worked with someone who needed to go to his doctor every six months to have this procedure done – well - that is, until he discovered ear candling. . .
By the way, cotton swabs really are not the best idea. They can push the wax further back into the ear canal and cause further problems. As I say this, my daughter uses these cotton swabs religiously; she doesn’t seem to have a problem. But she didn’t begin with a problem. When I had a problem with plugged up ears, I first tried to remove it with cotton swabs – and then did I have a problem! Until the barbeque when my sister told us all about ear candling . . .
For a humorous “don’t try this at home” story, click
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