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  • Question 1/12

    Earwax is good for your ears.

  • Answer 1/12

    Earwax is good for your ears.

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    • Correct Answer:

    The No. 1 job of that yellow, gooey stuff inside your ears is to keep them healthy. Earwax stops dust, dirt, bugs, and other crud from getting into your ear canal. It also keeps your ears from itching and protects them from infection.

  • Question 1/12

    It’s OK to use a cotton swab in your ear if you are gentle.

  • Answer 1/12

    It’s OK to use a cotton swab in your ear if you are gentle.

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    Put down the swab -- or anything else. Pointy objects can puncture your eardrum and damage the small bones inside your ear. Plus, cotton swabs might actually push the wax farther in, where it can harden and cause pain and hearing problems.

  • Question 1/12

    If you can see gunk in your ear, get rid of it.

  • Answer 1/12

    If you can see gunk in your ear, get rid of it.

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    The sight of earwax may gross you out, but here’s the truth: Earwax has nothing to do with cleanliness. So resist the urge to do something about it unless it affects your hearing or is linked to ear pain. These could be signs of infection or other issues, so you should call your doctor.

  • Question 1/12

    Which part of your ear makes earwax?

  • Answer 1/12

    Which part of your ear makes earwax?

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    The outer third of your ear canal is a 3-centimeter tunnel. The skin in it has special glands that make earwax.

  • Question 1/12

    There’s something you do every day to help move old earwax out of your ear canal.

  • Answer 1/12

    There’s something you do every day to help move old earwax out of your ear canal.

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    Like some ovens, your ear canals are self-cleaning. Every time you chew or move your jaw, you’re helping move old earwax from your ear canal to your ear opening. The wax then dries and falls out.

  • Question 1/12

    Ear candles are a good way to remove wax.

  • Answer 1/12

    Ear candles are a good way to remove wax.

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    Putting anything inside your ear = bad idea. Putting a lit candle inside your ear = worse idea. With ear candling, you stick a hollow cone soaked in beeswax or paraffin in your ear and light the other end. The heat is supposed to draw out wax, but there’s no proof that it works, and it’s dangerous. People using ear candles have burned themselves, blocked their ear canals with candle wax, and punctured their eardrums.

  • Question 1/12

    What’s the best way to remove earwax buildup at home?

  • Answer 1/12

    What’s the best way to remove earwax buildup at home?

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    If you feel like you have too much earwax, try ear drops, mineral oil, saline solution, olive oil, or hydrogen peroxide inside your ear. These will help dissolve the wax or soften it. Mix hydrogen peroxide and water equally, and put 5 drops into your ear.Lie on your side and let the solution soak in. If this doesn’t work, check with your doctor. He has special instruments that can help remove earwax.

  • Question 1/12

    Your earwax may be hard if you have:

  • Answer 1/12

    Your earwax may be hard if you have:

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    Eczema can make your skin dry and flaky, and that can make your earwax hard. Wax that’s been in your ear for a long time or that picks up a lot of gunk also can get hard and dry. Your body also makes less oil as you get older, so that might affect earwax, too. All this is more likely to block your ear canal. If you have a problem with hard earwax, you might want to see your doctor every 6 to 12 months for a checkup.

  • Question 1/12

    Earwax can give your doctor clues about your:

  • Answer 1/12

    Earwax can give your doctor clues about your:

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    East Asians’ earwax is much more likely to be dry and flaky instead of wet and sticky. That’s because  they have a slightly different gene that helps define your type of earwax.

  • Question 1/12

    Earwax is mostly made of:

  • Answer 1/12

    Earwax is mostly made of:

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    Earwax is made of an oily substance called sebum and dead skin cells. It also mixes with loose ear hairs. 

  • Question 1/12

    Earwax is more likely to build up if you have:

  • Answer 1/12

    Earwax is more likely to build up if you have:

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    If your ears are extra hairy, the hair can trap wax and make it harder to push out. Eczema causes dry and flaky skin. This can lead to more wax in your ear. Hearing aids and narrow ear canals can also cause buildup.

  • Question 1/12

    Extra earwax can cause hearing loss.

  • Answer 1/12

    Extra earwax can cause hearing loss.

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    When earwax builds up, it causes what’s called conductive hearing loss. That’s when sound waves can’t make it to your inner ear. But it’s treatable -- your doctor can remove the extra earwax. 

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Sources | Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on November 25, 2019 Medically Reviewed on November 25, 2019

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on
November 25, 2019

IMAGE PROVIDED BY:

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SOURCES:

American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery: “Earwax and Care.”

American Hearing Research Foundation: “Earwax,” “Common Ear and Hearing Issues.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Cerumen Impaction (Earwax Buildup and Blockage)

FDA: “Advice for Patients: Ear Candles,” “Don't Get Burned: Stay Away From Ear Candles."

Rady Children’s Hospital -- San Diego: “Earwax is Nature’s Defense Against Objects and Infections.”

The Health Letter: “Got an Ear Full? Here’s Some Advice.”

Nature Genetics: “A SNP in the ABCC11 gene is the determinant of human earwax type”

 

This tool does not provide medical advice.
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