Earwax is an essential component of healthy ears, so the more you know about it, the better! Here are ten facts that are sure to pique your interest.
- The frequent movement of our jaw helps the ears’ day to day natural self-cleaning process
- Hearing aids are often associated with increased earwax build-up, because the devices prevent wax from naturally falling out of the ear canal, which may lead to blockage
- In the 1st century, the treatment of excess earwax was described by Aulus Cornelius Celsus in De Medicina: “When a man is becoming dull of hearing, which happens most often after prolonged headaches, in the first place, the ear itself should be inspected: for there will be found either a crust such as comes upon the surface of ulcerations, or concretions of wax…”
- In medieval times, earwax was often used to prepare pigments for inks used by scribes to write and illustrate manuscripts
- Roman author Pliny the Elder (AD 23/24-79) wrote that earwax applied topically “cured bites from humans, scorpions, and serpents”
- In 1832, an article in the American Frugal Housewife said that “nothing was better than ear wax to prevent the painful effects resulting from a wound by a nail [or] skewer,” which may have led to the invention of the very first lip balm
- Before waxed thread was available, dressmakers and sewers would often use their own earwax to stop their threads from fraying
- There are two types of ear wax – wet and dry. People of North-eastern Asian descent tend to have dry earwax, while earwax of people from other regions is usually wet
- It’s not actually wax – the name earwax comes from its texture, but it’s made up of fatty acids, squalene, alcohols and cholesterol
- In the same way that tears help our eyes stay clean and comfortable, earwax lubricates the inside of our ears to keep them from feeling dry and itchy
Remember: Never put anything in your ears to try and remove earwax. It’s dangerous to insert small sharp objects into your ears and can also make problems with build up worse, as the wax gets pushed further into your ear canal.
To find out more about our safe, endoscopic ear wax removal service visit our Earwax page