About The Mysterious Ear Wax

About Ear Wax, there is always a 50% VS 50% controversy:
Some people always feel uncomfortable in their ears, and they always have tools for picking out Ear Wax on the key ring and in their pockets. After those tools are used to solve the problem of uncomfortable ears, people will say: " That feeling It’s wonderful! ” However, another people say that we don’t need to pay for Ear Wax. But many people do have too much Ear Wax which affects their hearing. So should "Ear Wax" be removed?


An interesting phenomenon is that whales never clean their ears. Ear Wax composed of fatty acids, alcohols, and cholesterol accumulates in the whale’s ears year after year, which is simply a portrayal of its life history. However, it is estimated that between 1.3 to 3.9 million people in the UK alone experience impacted Ear Wax build up, also known as ‘cerumenosis‘. Impacted Ear Wax build up can lead to many symptoms such as a ‘blocked ear’. Although a blocked ear can be as a result of a number of different ear and health-related problems, it is a common Ear Wax symptom and a frequent reason why people have their ears cleaned and cleared. 


What is Ear Wax?
What causes 'cerumenosis' ?
'Cerumenosis' hazards
How to safely remove Ear Wax & Ear canal nursing


What is Ear Wax?

For a long time, people believed that the main function of Ear Wax was lubrication, but some people believed that it could effectively prevent insects from crawling into the inside of the head from the ear canal, and some people speculated that Ear Wax had the effect of antibodies. Does Ear Wax really have these functions as people say? First, we have to figure out what Ear Wax is.


Ear Wax is medically called Cerumen in the ear canal. Cerumen is a metabolite secreted by the Cerumen gland from the outside to the cartilage, and can be excreted normally. If for some reason it cannot be excreted and accumulated in the external auditory canal, it may form a cerumen embolism. Another kind of Ear Wax is the stain on the skin behind the ear or on the skin of the auricle.

The cartilage skin of the external auditory canal has Cerumen glands, and its pale yellow viscous secretion is called Cerumen, commonly known as Ear Wax. Ear Wax can be described as "wet" or "dry". The Cerumen becomes flakes after drying in the air; some Cerumen are like thick grease, commonly known as "oily ears". Cerumen has the function of protecting the skin of the external auditory canal and adhering to foreign objects. It is usually discharged by itself with the help of chewing and mouth opening. If the Cerumen gradually condenses into a mass and becomes blocked in the external auditory canal, it is called Cerumen embolism.


What causes 'cerumenosis' ?

(1)Excessive secretion of cerumen

Otitis externa, eczema, working in dusty air, ear picking, etc. cause local irritation, resulting in excessive secretion of cerumen.

The entry of foreign bodies and otitis externa will stimulate the secretion of the ear wax glands in the cartilage of the outer ear canal, resulting in excessive ear wax. In addition, some people have significantly more earwax than ordinary people, which may be related to genetics.

(2)The discharge of cerumen is blocked

External auditory canal stenosis, scars, tumors, foreign body retention, etc. can hinder the discharge of cerumen.

Usually, earwax will fall off and discharge with the movement of the mandibular joint such as talking or chewing. However, if the patient’s external auditory canal is too narrow, scars, tumors, foreign bodies are blocked, the earwax falls off too fast or the joint movement of the mandible is obstructed, it will make the discharge of the earwax difficult, and then cause the earwax to block, resulting in excessive earwax . In addition, if the earwax deteriorates, it will become difficult to discharge, and the earwax will increase.

(3)Physiological factors

The muscles of the elderly will relax and the motor function of the mandibular joint will decrease. These changes will affect the discharge of earwax. In addition, in elderly men, the ear hairs at the outer end of the external auditory canal will become very thick, which prevents the earwax from falling off. With the increase of age, the earwax glands will gradually shrink, and the earwax is relatively dry and not easy to fall off, resulting in excessive accumulation of earwax.

(4)Mainly caused by poor personal hygiene

Which reduces the cleanliness of the skin. When you need to wash your face or take a bath, you should pay attention to the local area. Other factors cause more Ear Wax, such as skin diseases, can also form more Ear Wax, this is another special situation.


'Cerumenosis' hazards

In 1980, two researchers from the National Institutes of Health used "sterile ear wax hooks" to collect cerumen from the ears of 12 people, and mixed them all into an alcohol solution. Then, they added some bacteria to it.
As a result, earwax eliminated 99% of several strains. Although 1% of the unkilled E. coli strains, streptococci and Staphylococcus aureus have certain resistance to earwax, the mortality rate also ranges from 30% to 80%.

A German study in 2011 also found similar findings. In this experiment, 10 peptides in earwax can prevent bacteria and fungi from multiplying. Researchers believe that the infection of the external ear canal is due to a problem with the earwax-based defense system.
But in 2000, a study in the Canary Islands came to the opposite conclusion. Researchers found that the effect of earwax on Staphylococcus aureus is neutral. In most cases, earwax actually promotes the reproduction of bacteria, because earwax provides abundant nutrients for bacteria.


1. If the earwax is excessively secreted or the external auditory canal is narrow, the earwax is not easy to be discharged, and it gradually forms a lump to block the external auditory canal, and it is easy to form an earwax blockage. The longer the time, it will become bigger and harder, resulting in pressure to the skin of the external auditory canal. Over time, it can induce skin erosion, swelling and granulation formation in the external auditory canal. At the same time, accidental water in the ear may swell the earwax and cause inflammation of the ear canal.
2. If the earwax is too close to the eardrum, it may cause tinnitus, dizziness, reflex cough, headache and other symptoms. In severe cases, it may cause perforation of the tympanic membrane and otitis media. Long-term infection may cause lipoma of the external auditory canal.

In fact, some people suffer from earwax so much that they need medical intervention. Even now, it is possible for physicians to use almond oil or olive oil to soften excessive earwax.
According to an analysis report in 2004, approximately 2.3 million people in the UK seek medical treatment for this type of disease each year, and approximately 4 million ears receive treatment each year. The elderly, children, and people with hearing impairment often experience excessive earwax, which can cause deafness, social phobia, and even paranoia.


How to safely remove Ear Wax & Ear canal nursing

 1. Take it out directly
For some earwax that is movable, soft in texture, does not adhere to the ear wall very high, and does not completely block the external auditory canal, you can use knee-shaped tweezers or pliers to remove them in stages.

2. Hooking method
For some hard, movable earwax, the doctor can operate the earwax hook through the gap between the upper wall of the external auditory canal and the earwax, and gently insert it into the deep part of the external auditory canal, and then control the strength of the hand without damaging the tympanic membrane. In the case of circumstance, gently hook out the earwax. When hooking, slowly rotate, while loosening, and slowly pulling out until the earwax is completely taken out.

3. Flushing method
For some poorly active, hard-textured earwax, you can first use a 3% to 5% sodium bicarbonate solution to soften the earwax. Instill it every 2 to 4 hours, 3 to 4 times a day. . After 3 days, when the earwax becomes soft, the earwax can be flushed out with the external ear canal flushing method. After rinsing, lightly apply a small amount of desiccant or wipe the ear canal with a dry cotton ball.

4. Suction method
For the narrow external auditory canal and the earwax that is difficult to flush out, the earwax can be extracted by suction. This method is similar to the flushing method. It also needs to soften the earwax, and then use a suction device to suck out the earwax. However, the absorbed force should not be too large to avoid damaging the tympanic membrane.

To sum up, different methods, according to the different conditions of the earwax, the recommended operating methods are also different. At present, the medical scientific nursing is to remove the earwax through the endoscope under the monitor in different ways.

The researchers wrote: "Some patients with excessive earwax also have perforated tympanic membrane." However, because the cerumen itself cannot penetrate the tympanic membrane, the perforation of the tympanic membrane is caused by oneself, probably because people try to remove it. Compressed earwax.

Due to the risks associated with the use of cotton swabs, even highly skilled doctors rely on monitor endoscopes when treating earwax symptoms.
It is worth reminding that some people know that physicians do not recommend this behavior, and despite the danger, they stick a cotton swab into their ears after showering. Using a cotton swab to dig out your ears may cause perforation of the tympanic membrane or push earwax deep into the ear canal. Sometimes, the cotton wool on the tip of the cotton swab may fall off and stay in the ear canal.

Also avoid an alternative treatment called ear candling. This method uses a hollow candle made of beeswax or paraffin close to the ear and then lights the candle. The principle of this therapy is that the heat inside the hollow candle can pull the earwax in the ear canal out, which is believed to be easy to remove the earwax.
But in fact, there is no evidence to support this therapy. On the contrary, many evidences show that when the candle burns, the hot wax drips on the eardrum and makes you feel quite painful. It's best to avoid this, don't say I didn't warn you.

1 comment

Good speech!

Rimc Rechal

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