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Spotlight on Ear Wax- Part I

Wednesday, January 4, 2017 9:41:29 AM Australia/Melbourne

Spotlight on Ear Wax- Part IOur last post on the Hearlink blog jogged a thought, a topic that we’ve yet to cover here, but an important one to share. While hearing impediments span the spectrum of severity and variety, we tend to focus on the most serious. Though these may incur larger costs to treat and more research to identify, sometimes it’s important to get back to basics. Hearing impairments can be as simple as a build up of ear wax. Ear wax may sound like one of those taboo bodily fluids that you don’t want to discuss with your family or friends, but sometimes it truly is the culprit for a myriad of health concerns. How satisfying is it, when your doctor can pinpoint an easy-to-remedy health concern? It’s becoming more and more rare in today’s age, so we’ll take a simple solution, wherever we can!


Ear wax is also known as cerumen. We’re betting you’re familiar with it, but if you’re not- it’s the yellow-brown-gray substance, with a waxy texture that you can find within your ear canals. Almost all mammals have ear wax. It’s a beneficial substance as it protects the skin within your ear canal. It also, ironically, helps with cleaning out your ears. In some cases, it even protects your ears against bacteria or fungi, which can have a negative effect.


How does it sustain that texture? Ear wax is made up of hair and skin, as well as secretions from the sebaceous and ceruminous glands, right outside the ear canal. Earwax is composed of long chain fatty acids, squalene and cholesterol. The cerumen is what we want to focus on here. If its too tightly compacted, or there is too much of it, that’s when you start to feel the pressure against your ear drum or even an entire blockage of the ear canal. If there is a blockage of the ear canal, that’s when you’ll start to see hearing loss.


There are two different types of ear wax. There is wet ear wax and there is dry ear wax. Wet ear wax is also known as dominant ear wax. Dry ear wax is also known as recessive ear wax. The different types are very aligned with your cultural heritage. Native Americans and Asians are more likely to have dry ear wax. Those of African or European descent are more likely to have wet ear wax. To this point, ear wax has played an important role for scientists and anthropologists, to track migratory patterns of our ancestors. There is even a specific gene, which helps to identify whether an individual’s ear wax will be wet ear wax or dry ear wax.


Over the next few posts, we’ll cover a myriad of ear wax topics. We’ll cover cleaning, lubrication, removal and associated complications. Do you have a question about ear wax that we can help to answer? Please feel free to reach out to the Hearlink team. We would love to hear from you.

Posted in Industry News By

Hearlink Admin