Why Do We Need Earwax?

What is this stuff? ChEARio mates, Trace ear for DNews.

Earwaxis weird and gross, it's basically congealed ear sweat.

There are two kinds of sweat: mostis cooling watery sweat, but some is thicker smellier sweat — which shows up in the armpitand ear.

Earwax isn't really wax, it's mostly dead skin cells, proteins and oils added bythe apocrine gland.

The junk is in there to protect the inner ear from water or infection,as a foothold for bacteria.

Earwax fights off some diseases and can lubricateand protect the ear from infection and water.

It's a pretty common system of protectionin mammals.

The wax builds up over time, and in some species can reveal a lot about theirpast.

Late last year, researchers at Baylor University used the earwax of a blue whaleto reveal when it went through puberty, which years it was able to find ample food, andwhen pollutants like mercury were introduced to the whale's environment.

Whale earwax isn'tquite the same as human earwax, but based on studies like this, current research isexploring what earwax can teach us! This week a study of human cerumen — themedical term for earwax — dove into the stuff nose first and found the smell of your earwaxcan give away your ancestry! Caucasian earwax smells stronger than EastAsian or Native Americans! Research published in the Journal of Chromatography B exploredthe ABCC11 gene, which affects sweat, and thus earwax, in humans.

The type commonlyfound in Caucasians creates a stickier earwax and more stinky body odor, while the typein East Asians creates dryer, flakier earwax and less stinky body odor.

It's not that theodors themselves are different, it's that the volatile compounds in the earwax are indifferent amounts.

Volatile compounds are the tiny particles we sense when we're smellsomething.

Knowing this, scientists can use earwax, notonly to tell ethnicity, but in the future they're going to try to follow those researchingthe whale wax and see what secrets your ear wax holds.

There are diseases that leave tracesin ear wax once they appear in the body.

It might even catalog what you've eaten, or whereyou've been! Doctors of the future might be able to diagnose a possible immune systeminvader, or health risk, with a digital sniff of your earwax.

Now, your cerumen is protecting you from infection,lubricating your ears, and keeping a health record for your doctor, but even knowing ALLTHAT, there are those of you who will totally want to get rid of it.

Firstly, don't usea cotton swab.

Not in the EAR CANAL.

Outer ear? Knock yourself out.

Inner ear.


Sometimes,when you poke around in there with cotton swabs, you're actually INCREASING earwax buildup,mushing it together and causing blockages! Stop it.

Oh, and ear candling is silly andgross.

Studies show it doesn't work and it's not recommended.

If you REALLY want to getrid of it, talk to the pharmacist.

They've got drops you can buy.

But why would you wantto? That stuff is great! Did we change your opinion on earwax? Tellus on below in the comments and subscribe for more videos seven days a week.

Hit meup @trace501! See you around!.

Source: Youtube subtitles

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