Ear wax, known as cerumen, is produced inside your ears in glands at the base of the tympanic membrane (ear drum) to keep them clean and free of germs. It usually passes out of the ears harmlessly aided by chewing and jaw movement, but sometimes too much can build up and block the ears.
It protects the skin of the human ear canal, assists in cleaning and lubrication, and also provides some protection from bacteria, fungi, insects and water. So, in fact, ear wax is a good thing.
The amount of ear wax that the body produces differs from person to person, the amount that is retained within the ear also differs for each of us - these differences are for a number of reasons including age, lifestyle, diet, personal anatomy and genetic factors.
Many people will produce a small amount of wax their whole lives, which leaves the ear canal naturally, and never have any problem with it. For others, their ear will produce a larger amount of wax, which will not fully leave the ear canal and will become blocked, which leads to them having reduced hearing ability and also a blocked feeling in the ear.
Our micro suction treatments help those who have excessive ear wax that is causing a blockage and resulting in a hearing loss, an unpleasant full feeling in the ear, tinnitus and sometimes infection.
Ear wax is useful in other ways too!
- In the past, ear wax was used as a lip balm. This means people stuck their fingers or tools into their ears and then smeared it on their lips.
- Ear wax was also used as a salve or soothing ointment for puncture wounds. The 1832 edition of 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”.
- In the early days of publishing, ear wax was often a component of printer's ink together with other substances like urine, used to prepare pigments used by scribes to prepare illuminated manuscripts.
- Before waxed threads became available, seamstresses often used their own ear wax to prevent the end of thread from fraying. This means that people's clothes had other people's ear wax on them, so often clothes were similar to wearable cotton swabs.
- Modern anthropologists examine ear wax when tracking human migratory patterns. According to the University of Delaware, ear wax can reveal a range of information. Ear wax can indicate where a person's ancestry is from to the smelliness of their sweat.
- Wow - those of us that produce excess ear wax are useful folks to have around! Mind you, not sure about using other’s ear wax as lip balm!