Everything you need to know about ear wax.
Cerumen is the proper medical term used to describe ear wax. But what is cerumen and how is it formed? Typically, our old skin cells die as new ones are formed. The old skin cells either flake off in the air or get washed away when we shower. Due to the small and narrow structure of the ear canal, it is difficult for the water to reach in to wash the old skin away when we shower. The old skin in our ear canals ‘migrate’ (or move) from the inside of the ear canal to the outside of our ears. The old skin then mixes itself in body oils and that is how cerumen is formed.
Cerumen can either be soft or hard. This usually indicates how long the wax has been in the canals and living in different climates can also play a part. Cerumen can also come in different colours, varying from yellow to brown. However, if you notice hints of red in your cerumen, this could indicate ear damage and that bleeding has occurred.
Cerumen has several important roles in our body as it protects your ear canals from dust, dirt and bugs/insects from entering your ears by acting as a shield. However, as the saying goes, everything in moderation. Once your ears are blocked with wax, it is very tempting to remove the wax in your ears. Unfortunately, many people resort to using cotton tips, which compact and push the wax deeper into the ear canal, making it harder to remove. Furthermore, the cotton tips can scratch the ear canals causing bleeding. Once the ear canal skin is broken, you are more susceptible to ear infections. Ear infections may cause temporary or permanent hearing loss.
Remember the old saying? “Do not put anything smaller than your elbow in your ears!” – that still applies.
Do you feel that your hearing is not, quite right? Or do your ears get clogged with wax? To get the best care for your ears, please give Stay Tuned Hearing a call on 9708 8626. Our Audiologist Robin Tu in Mt Eliza will assist you with all your hearing needs.