Earwax is just another one of our body's under-appreciated, mundane bodily functions which few of us like to discuss with company... but earwax actually has a purpose!
The proper name for earwax is cerumen and it is produced only by the outermost bit of the ear canal, thanks to a mix of between one and two thousand sebaceous glands (which also keep your hair oily on your head) and modified sweat glands.
In a similar way as to how oil lubricates your car engine or how tears lubricate our eyes, earwax lubricates our ears. Without adequate amounts of earwax, our ears would feel dry and itchy.
Earwax Benefits- You Need It!
Earwax is produced constantly so that you maintain just the right amount in your ears (ideally). Unless you suffer from earwax impaction, it is actually best to leave your earwax alone!
One of the main functions of earwax is lubrication.
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, the absence of this lubricating property would result in dry, itchy, uncomfortable ears.
FUN FACT: Earwax was used as an ointment for puncture wounds and early lip balms... yuck!
This lubrication provided by cerumen prevents extreme dryness of the skin within your ear canal. In fancy terms, the lubricative properties of earwax arise from the high lipid (fatty acids) content of the sebum (wax) produced by the sebaceous glands.
But I promise you, there is a reason why earwax exists-- to provide lubrication and protect your ears!
What Can Earwax Do?
- Prevent dust, bacteria and other germs from entering the ear canal
- Trap dirt and slow the growth of bacteria
- Protect the skin in your ear from becoming irritated by water
... Cool right? Your ears also self-clean, so keep those cotton swabs out!