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Earwax There to Protect Your Hearing, Doctors Say

Your ears have a reason for producing earwax, primarily to collect dirt, dust and other matter from getting further into your ears. In other words, earwax serves a purpose in protecting your hearing, and doctors at HealthDay News are warning that being too enthusiastic in trying to clean earwax out may result in ear damage.

Overzealousness at ear cleaning can even result in infection, so it’s important to understand that earwax is a substance that’s meant to be in your ears, and it actually aids in your ears’ self-cleaning process, providing protection, lubrication and antibacterial properties.

Known technically as cerumen, it’s produced by glands in your ear canal. Made up mostly of dead skin cells, earwax also contains lysozyme, an antibacterial enzyme, fatty acids, alcohols and cholesterol. Since earwax buildup can be a sign of omega-3 deficiency, you often can solve the problem by simply eating more omega-3s or taking a high-quality animal-based omega-3 supplement like krill oil.

If you have an abnormal buildup of earwax do not use a cotton swab. Rather, try to soften the wax by placing a few drops of olive oil, coconut oil or water in your ear. Then, pour a capful of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide in each ear to flush the wax out. It’s worth noting that using plain sterile water, or a sterile saline solution, to soften earwax works just as well as oil or over-the-counter eardrops.

If you suffer from a more serious impaction, you may need to get the earwax removed by a physician who can manually remove the wax using microsuction, an otoscope or other appropriate instruments.
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