Debunking 5 Common Myths About Earwax

Earwax is normal and does not harm your ears. This article debunks much talked about myths about earwax.

Varun Verma
Written by: Varun VermaUpdated at: Nov 24, 2022 18:17 IST
Debunking 5 Common Myths About Earwax

Earwax, as it is named, brings out several myths and misconceptions to the forefront. Some consider it to be dirty and hurry to get it removed, using various harmful and unscientific methods. This article debunks much talked about myths about earwax. 

Myth 1: Earwax Is Abnormal

Due to its texture, earwax may seem bad or dirty. However, it is completely normal. Earwax is made up of dead skin cells and secretions from the sebaceous and ceruminous glands located in the external ear. 

Your ethnicity, age, environment, and even diet affect the quantity and kind of earwax you will have. Apart from this, earwax is a natural moisturiser and keeps the ear canal from drying out. It also prevents unwanted things like small insects or dirt from entering your ear. Additionally, it keeps bacteria and other contagious organisms from getting inside the ear.

Myth 2: Earwax Needs To Be Removed Regularly

This is a myth because your ears have a self-cleaning mechanism that controls the expulsion of extra earwax. The method involves a thin layer of skin slowly migrating out of the ear canal while dragging any extra wax along with it. The migrating wax is loosened at the external entrance to your ear canal when combined with jaw movement from chewing and talking; it then either falls away on its own or can be gently wiped away with a cloth.

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Myth 3: Earwax Causes Permanent Hearing Loss

man unable to listen due to earwax blockage

No! Earwax does not pose a risk of permanent hearing loss. However, due to excessive earwax, your hearing may be impacted a little and sounds may seem muffled. If this happens, a specialist can safely look into your ears and remove the earwax, bringing your hearing back to normal.

Myth 4: Poor Hygiene Leads To Earwax

This is another myth. Earwax accumulation can be brought on by a variety of genetic and behavioural factors. In terms of genetics, having an ear canal that is particularly narrow, bendy, or hairy may simply make you more prone to having excessive earwax. This kind of accumulation has nothing to do with cleanliness or hygiene.

This self-cleaning process can be hampered by the constant use of earplugs, headphones, or hearing aids, which are lifestyle variables but again have nothing to do with hygiene. Earwax accumulation can also be caused by stress and working in dusty conditions. 

Although it's important to watch your ears for any indications of blockage, it doesn't necessarily mean you have poor hygiene. All of these factors will have an impact on the volume of earwax you produce.

Myth 5: Ear Candles Can Remove Earwax

ear candle for earwax removal

With claims that ear candles are a natural method to remove wax from your ear canal and relieve the pain associated with a clogged ear, they have grown in popularity. An ear candle is a hollow cone-shaped candle that is placed into your ear canal while you are lying on your side (not done by yourself), far enough for the candle to remain upright and with the other end lit. It is said that as the candle slowly burns down, towards your face, the heat it produces creates a suction effect that pulls wax out of your ear canal.

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However, there is no scientific basis for the claims that an earwax candle can remove earwax through suction. It is not only ineffective but also dangerous for both health and safety. While heated wax and falling ash can burn the fragile eardrum and ignite the hairs that border the ear canal, the flame itself can burn your face or outer ear. 

Conclusion

Having earwax is healthy but sometimes too much of it can give you discomfort. Visit a doctor if there are signs of impacted wax, such as hearing loss, a feeling of fullness or blockage, tinnitus, itching, pain, discharge, or odour. The doctor will have a clear view of the ears and be able to tell if there is wax buildup or another issue. Additionally, you can get earwax removed safely by him.

Image Credit: freepik

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