Five things you probably didn’t know about ear wax
Palm readings, psychics, astrology, angel readings – whatever you believe in, or even if you’re not a believer, there’s one thing that’s arguably even more telling about yourself that you probably haven’t even considered: your ear wax.
Much like other bodily functions, earwax can tell a lot about a person’s health and even ethnicity. Earwax removal expert and founder of Earworx, Lisa Hellwege, weighs in on what earwax can divulge about a person.
It’s an odour meter
“There are two types of people, those who produce wet earwax and those who produce dry earwax. Wet earwax is most common but there are pros and cons to both types. Wet earwax helps to lubricate the ear and can significantly reduce any itching that comes with have no earwax or dry earwax. Interestingly, scientists have proven that those who produce dry earwax also produce less armpit odour. So if you have wet earwax, it might pay to be more cautious of your body odour.”
It reflects your ethnicity
“Having dry or wet earwax can actually tell more than just your sweat production. It may also reflect your ethnicity. Dry earwax is present in 80-95 percent of East Asians. It is less common in Southern Asia, Central Asian, Pacific Islands and Native North Americans with only 30-50 percent producing dry earwax. On the other hand 97% of Europeans and Africans have wet earwax.”
Earwax changes colour
“The colour of earwax can tell us a lot about our ear health. The ideal earwax is golden yellow in colour and has a soft texture. This type of wax also means it is newer earwax. Older earwax becomes darker and firmer but as it moves towards the outside of the ear it can become flaky and pale. These are all normal colours and textures of earwax and show that the ear is healthy and functioning properly. However, there are signs and colours to look out for that may indicate something is wrong. When earwax is blood tinged, this can mean there is a scratch in the ear canal or an ear injury. If it is black, it can denote earwax build up that has been there for a long time. Other non-wax colours may even be a foreign object in the ear. Runny, cloudy and smelly earwax is less likely to be ear wax and could be debris related to an ear infection. For any of these less ideal earwax types, seek advice from a medical professional.”
It senses stress
“If you have noticed an increase in earwax production this could mean you’re stressed out. Interestingly, stress and fear can accelerate wax production. This is because the apocrine glands that produce sweat also make earwax. However, increased wax production is also common in people with a lot of hair in their ear canals, people who wear hearing aids, surfers and divers and those who have a hereditary disposition to wax build up. ‘Stress wax’ or wax build up that is causing blockages can be removed temporarily with ear drop solutions or by safe, effective and quick microsuction techniques.”
It’s an insect repellent
“While we’ve all heard the horror stories of insects climbing into ears, earwax actually has repellent properties. Its bitter taste and smell generally deters insects from entering the ear canal. Environments where insects have defied the odds include remote outdoor areas and already bug infested rooms. So, while many people like to clean out their ears, it might be an idea to keep the earwax and clean out the house instead. If an insect does fly into your ear, pour olive oil in to drown it and visit a clinic or your GP to have it removed.”
How often do you clean your ears?