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Posted by on Jul 7, 2015 in Tell Me Why |

What Is the Purpose of Wax in Our Ears?

What Is the Purpose of Wax in Our Ears?

The soft, brownish, waxy substance found in the ear canal protects the inner ear from foreign bodies. The earwax, known as “serumen” (suh ROO mun), is produced by glands in the skin of the ear canal.

Earwax has several important jobs. First, it protects and moisturizes the skin of ear canal, preventing dry, itchy ears. Second, it contains special chemicals that fight off infections that could hurt the skin inside the ear canal. Finally, it acts as a shield between the outside world and the eardrum.

When particles of dirt and dust enter the ear, they are trapped by the sticky serumen before they can pass through the ear canal and damage the eardrum. The waxy substance is gradually worked outward.

This is due to the movement of the jaw joint, which presses upon the canal. The earwax dries in the form of scales, and then passes out of the ear; it either falls out or is removed when you wash.

Content for this question contributed by Scott Reed, resident of Sheridan, Sheridan County, Wyoming, USA