Earwax - Friend or Foe

Why do we have earwax? And is this good?

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Many people believe that their ears should be completely free of any earwax, however, this is not the case. Earwax has a very important role to play, it should be seen a friend not foe.

Earwax, or for those of you who like a good trivia question, cerumen (fancy medical name), is a naturally occurring substance found within healthy ear canals.

Earwax itself is a combination of secretions by glands in the ear canal mixing with dead hair and skin cells. These are the components that make up what we commonly know as earwax.

Earwax production in individuals can vary greatly. The reasons for this are not fully understood. When the ear is functioning correctly earwax will find its way to the entrance of the canal, at this point it can be cleaned away using a dampened facecloth.

Earwax has a very important role to play in how the ear functions.

Acidity - earwax is slightly acidic in nature which in turn makes it an unfriendly place for bacteria and fungi to live.

Lubrication - earwax helps to lubricate the skin within the ear canal, keeping it moist and healthy.

Teamwork - earwax works alongside the tiny hair follicles in the ear canal to discourage small insects from entering the area.

So earwax is friendly and  provides real benefit in maintaining a healthy ear canal.