Earwax seems kind of pointless. I mean, we spend time poking Q-tips in our ears just to take the stuff out! And what is that stuff anyway? The ears seem like an odd body part to produce waste. But earwax isn’t waste, in fact it’s extremely important.
Cerumen, better known to us as earwax is a waxy and yellow material produced by the ear canal inside the ear. It serves a pretty important purpose too. It lubricates our ears, repels water from the inside of the ear, and acts as a stop sign to dirt, bacteria, bugs, or other materials that could find their way to your ear. Without it, our ears would be dry, itchy, and prone to infection, as happens with people who do not produce enough earwax. After earwax does its job, it works its way to the outer ear and falls out.
Even though earwax is extremely useful, there are two different types of earwax that you could have based on your ethnicity. One is a wet and sticky type commonly found in people of European or African ancestry or a dry and flakey type commonly found in people of Eastern Asian ancestry.
Japanese researcher Kohichiro Yoshiura studied the genes from 33 different ethnic groups to single the specific gene responsible for making the earwax either wet or dry and found that the gene that makes earwax wet was not present in those of eastern Asian descent.
The only question is why this disparity exists, and scientists aren’t entirely sure. Some believe it has do as an adaptation to the cold, which I don’t believe. There are many cold places in Europe and Africa and this gene has not been adapted in either places. There is always the possibility of random genetic drift, though that tends to be the theory given to concepts without real answers.
Though it may not seem important, earwax really helps us out, and it’s important that we don’t use Q-tips to try to get this stuff out. Either it will push the wax further back into the ear or will damage part of the ear. Its better to just let it be and keep your ears from getting dry.