Why is Earwax so Important And Why You Shouldn’t Try To Remove it

human ear

Earwax acts as a lubricant and protects the inner ear against parasites and dust.

Probably the highlight of each shower is grabbing a Q-Tip or the hard end of a towel to remove some of that earwax. Well, although this is part of everyone’s bathing ritual, doctors have advised against meddling with the ear’s secretion. Here’s why you should leave that cerumen alone.

Earwax Serves a Plethora of Bodily Purposes, Scientists Declared

The sticky and yellowy substance inside the ear canal is medically known as cerumen. Although a normal secretion, most people choose to remove it for cosmetic purposes.

However, new research indicates that it’s better to leave it alone than to try to yank it by force.

What we know as earwax is not really wax, as in beeswax, but a tight conglomerate made up of hair, sweat, and dead skin cells. As doctors reveal, the cerumen’s primary role is the lubrication of the ear canal.

Ana H. Kim, an associate professor and the direction of Columbia University Medical Center’s Department of Otolaryngology Research, pointed out that the presence of cerumen promotes healthy skin cells regeneration. Furthermore, earwax also makes the ear canal most, thus preventing the ear from feeling itchy or dry.

Hold on, because there’s more to it. Further research reveals that cerumen also acts as a natural barrier, repelling anything from specs of dust to tiny insects that could crawl inside the ear canal.

Dr. Kim pointed out that removing cerumen means tampering with the body’s natural protection mechanisms. More than that, using different implements to remove it, such as Q-Tips or thin objects could push the cerumen deeper inside the ear canal, leading to a possible perforation of the eardrum.


So, the next time you’ll get the urge to shove that Q-Tip inside your ear, bear in mind that there’s a reason why your body produces cerumen.

Image source: Flickr

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