• Question: What percentage of the population have dry earwax and does it affect their hearing?

    Asked by poshpodgypeach to Ken, Jarv, John, Vicky on 21 Mar 2012. This question was also asked by jammiedodger.
    • Photo: John Prytherch

      John Prytherch answered on 21 Mar 2012:

      I’m not sure what % have this problem but I have had problems with it myself. It did affect my hearing quite a bit, making sounds muffled and speech harder to understand. I was meant to put oil in my ears to soften the wax so it would just fall out naturally, but I found this really boring and didn’t do it enough. My ears seem ok now though 🙂

    • Photo: Vicky Young

      Vicky Young answered on 21 Mar 2012:

      OOhhhh this is a Ken question!!

      I have no idea about percentages but wet ear wax is more common as the gene for it is dominant! So if either of your parents have the gene for wet ear wax you will have wet ear wax. I’ll leave it for Ken to explain more!


    • Photo: Ken Dutton-Regester

      Ken Dutton-Regester answered on 22 Mar 2012:

      So the percentage of what type of ear wax is strongly dependent on the population in question. The dominant trait is wet ear wax while dry is less common. However, in certain populations, such as asians, the dry ear wax is more common.

      Roughly- asian populations, ~95% with dry ear wax. European and Africa ~95% wet ear wax.

      As far as I am aware I dont think it affects your hearing capabilties.

      Quirky fact I just read- apparently wet ear wax has been associated with body odour. From a study of an asian population of people who went to the doctor who complained of body odour, the majority had the wet ear wax type (which is striking cos its rare in that population). Not sure how much work has been done on this area though and whether this link still stands true- sounds like a weekend job of invesitagtion!