7 Surprising facts about earwax

Facts about earwaxHow much do you know about earwax, other than you have some in your ears? I never gave earwax much thought until I got married. Yup, my better half made me start thinking of earwax on a regular basis. Why? Because he produces copious amounts of it. Every three months or so, he goes to the doctor to get his ears flushed because his hearing starts to get affected by all the accumulated earwax.

So what's the story with earwax?


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That stuff in your ears is actually quite interesting and useful. Here are seven fascinating facts I'm sure you didn't know about earwax:

1. It's called cerumen. You and I may call it earwax, but the medical term for it is cerumen and it is a waxy yellowish substance secreted by the ear.

2. It's water-repellent. There isn't enough of it in your ear to make your ears totally water-resistant, but it offers some protection and helps water that does get in your ear, flow back out.

3. It is naturally antibacterial. It's very acidic in nature and bacteria does not like acid. This helps you from getting constant ear infections.

4. Bugs don't like it. It's true, bugs think it's pretty gross. Thank goodness or we'd have bugs in there all the time.

5. There are two different kinds of earwax. One is a wet yellow-brown wax or a dry white wax. If you have the wet kind, you probably stink more when you sweat than people with the dry kind. Thank goodness for deodorant.

6. It doesn't taste good. I wouldn't know as I haven't eaten any myself, but I'm told it tastes horrible.

7. It's sticky for a reason. The stickiness factor helps trap dust, dirt and other junk that might otherwise get into your ear canal.

Who knew earwax was so fascinating?

Image via Corbis Images

Topics: health  ears  facts