What is earwax — and should you get rid of it? - Henry C. Ou

740,350 views ・ 2024-04-02

TED-Ed


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翻译人员: Alison Huang 校对人员: suya f.
00:07
Investigating a nearly 5,000-year-old Sumerian burial site,
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考古学家在调查
一个拥有近 5000 年历史的
苏美尔人墓地时发现了
00:12
archaeologists came across intriguing sets of artifacts.
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一系列很有意思的文物
他们认为它们是 洗漱用品套装
00:16
They judged them to be toiletry kits
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00:19
comprising pointed tools, tweezers, and ear scoops.
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包括尖头工具、镊子和耳挖勺
00:25
In fact, grooming paraphernalia, including earwax removal tools,
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实际上,在许多不同的考古遗址中
都挖掘出了包括 采耳工具在内的美容用具
00:31
have popped up in many different archaeological sites—
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00:34
and earwax evacuation remains a popular hygienic habit today.
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而其中挖耳屎工具仍然是
当今流行的卫生习惯
00:40
But what is earwax?
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但是什么是耳垢?
00:42
And are the efforts to eliminate it actually good for us?
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我们拼力挖耳屎 真的对我们有好处吗?
00:46
Well, to start, we’re not alone in our waxy ways.
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好吧,首先 我们并不是独一份
00:51
Other mammals also produce earwax.
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其他哺乳动物也会产生耳垢
00:54
A 12-year-old blue whale was discovered with an earwax earplug
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一只 12 岁的蓝鲸被发现
耳朵里有 25 厘米长的耳屎
00:58
that was 25 centimeters long.
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01:02
Earwax— technically called cerumen— forms in our outer ear canals.
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耳屎(学名耳垢)会在 我们的外耳道中形成
01:09
There, skin cells slough off and mix with other substances, including sweat.
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在那里,皮肤细胞会脱落并 与其他物质混合,包括汗水
01:15
But the sweat inside our ears doesn’t function to cool us off
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但是我们耳朵里的汗水
并不能像我们身体的 内分泌腺流出的那种汗水
01:19
like the kind that comes out of the eccrine glands dotting our bodies.
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那样起到降温的作用
01:24
Instead, it comes from apocrine glands, like those in our armpits, and is oilier.
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取而代之的是 它来自顶泌汗腺(或大汗腺)
就像我们腋下的腺体一样 而且更油腻
01:31
Dead skin and oily sweat mix with sebum—
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死皮和油性汗液与皮脂 (也存在于脸部和头皮上的脂肪油)
01:35
the fatty oil that’s also found on our faces and scalps—
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混合在一起
01:39
and voila: it’s earwax.
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瞅瞅,这就是耳屎
01:43
But earwax ranges in odor, color, and consistency.
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但是耳垢的气味、 颜色和粘稠度各不相同
01:48
Some is flaky and dry; other kinds are sticky and gooey.
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有些是片状的和干的 有些则是粘稠的
01:54
A change in a single nucleotide on one gene
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在基因中 一个单个核苷酸的变化
01:59
determines which type you have
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通过影响耳朵顶泌汗腺 分泌的脂肪量
02:01
by affecting how much fat your ear’s apocrine sweat glands secrete.
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来决定你拥有哪种类型的耳屎
02:07
And the kind someone has may track with their ancestry.
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而某些特定人群可以通过 他们的祖先来确定耳屎的类型
02:11
For example, drier earwax is common among people with East Asian heritage,
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例如,在具有东亚血统的人群中 较干燥的耳垢很常见
02:18
while people of African and European descent more often have wetter earwax.
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而非洲和欧洲血统的人 更经常使用湿润的耳垢
02:24
Just to get this out of the way, no human earwax— wet or dry—
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为了解决这个问题 任何人类耳垢
无论是湿的还是干的
02:30
would make a good candle.
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都没办法做成一个好用的蜡烛
02:32
Okay, but why have earwax at all?
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好吧,但是为什么要有耳垢?
02:36
Well, it seems these secretions actually help keep our ears healthy.
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这些分泌物实际上 可以让我们的耳朵保持健康
02:41
Earwax can act as a lubricator that prevents ear dryness and itchiness;
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耳垢可以起到润滑剂的作用 防止耳朵干燥和发痒
02:48
it traps debris and microbes and forms a physical barrier
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它可以让碎渣渣和微生物困在耳道中
02:52
that protects the ear canal’s skin.
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形成保护耳道皮肤的物理屏障
02:54
And it’s an active line of defense:
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而且它是一道积极的身体防线
02:58
researchers have identified several proteins in earwax
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研究人员已经在耳垢中发现了
03:02
that combat bacterial infections.
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几种对抗细菌感染的蛋白质
03:05
Generally, the ear also has its own way of getting rid of earwax.
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通常,耳朵也有自己的 去除耳垢的方法
03:11
As new skin cells form and grow at the center of the eardrum,
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当新的皮肤细胞 在鼓膜中央形成和生长时
03:15
they push the older ones toward the opening of the ear canal,
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它们会将较旧的皮肤细胞 推向耳道的外面
03:19
forming a conveyor belt where dead skin cells mix with those oily secretions.
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从而形成一条传送带
死皮细胞与这些油性分泌物混合在一起。
03:25
Every day, the skin within the ear canal migrates outwards about 100 micrometers.
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每天,耳道内的皮肤向外 迁移约 100 微米。
03:32
Eventually, this process should push the wax out of your ear.
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最终,这个过程会 把耳垢从你的耳朵里排出来。
03:36
Meanwhile, sticking items in your ears to extract earwax yourself
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同时,把东西塞进耳朵里清耳屎
03:42
can make things worse.
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反而会使情况变得更糟。
03:44
Even if swabbing removes a little earwax,
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即使这种擦拭可以 去除少量耳垢
03:47
it may push more back in.
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也可能会将更多耳垢推进去。
03:50
And it can leave scratches in the ear canal’s skin,
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而且它可能会 在耳道皮肤上留下划痕
03:54
disrupting its natural barrier against infections.
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破坏其抵抗感染的 天然屏障。
03:58
Deep cleaning also runs the risk of perforating your eardrum,
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过度清洁还存在 鼓膜穿孔的风险
04:02
which can cause permanent damage and hearing loss.
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这可能会导致 永久性损伤和听力损失。
04:06
Some services promise to clear earwax— but should be avoided.
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有些采耳服务承诺可以清除耳垢
但请你尽量不要这么去做
04:11
Ear candling or coning involves a hollow candle lit on fire
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耳烛或锥形蜡烛 是指在把空心蜡烛点燃
04:16
and placed over the ear canal.
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然后放在耳道上方。
04:19
It’s claimed that this generates enough air current to pull earwax out.
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据称,这会产生 足够的气流将耳垢排出
04:24
However, researchers have found that the amount of suction generated is minimal
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但是,研究人员发现 产生的吸力微乎其微
04:29
and that what’s visible at the end is likely debris from the candle itself—
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最后很可能你看到的是 蜡烛本身的碎屑
04:34
not extracted earwax.
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而不是你真正的耳屎
04:37
In reality, the practice can lead to injuries and leave debris in the ears.
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实际上,这种做法可能会
导致耳朵受伤并在耳朵中留下碎屑
04:43
But some folks are more prone to earwax buildup,
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但是随着年龄的增长 有些人更容易长耳屎
04:47
and may find it becomes more of an issue with age.
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可能会发现耳垢 越来越成问题
04:50
Earwax accumulation can be uncomfortable and affect your hearing,
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太多耳屎会让人感到不舒服
04:54
and there are definitely times when intervention is needed.
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并影响听力 有时肯定需要干预。
04:58
But there are safer ways to go about it.
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但是有更安全的方法 可以解决这个问题
05:01
Over-the-counter eardrops help soften earwax
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非处方耳药水 有助于软化耳垢
05:05
so it can make its way out on its own.
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使其可以自行排出
05:07
And health care providers have tried-and-true methods
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医生也会有靠谱的方法
05:11
of gently clearing blockages.
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可以将耳屎清理出来
05:13
Otherwise, to prevent earwax buildup,
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除此之外,为防止积攒太多耳屎
05:16
doctors recommend gently cleaning the outside of the ear canal with a damp cloth
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医生建议用湿布轻轻 擦拭耳道外部
05:22
and giving your ears a break from earplugs and earbuds when possible.
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尽可能减少使用
入耳式耳机或者耳塞式耳机的次数。
05:27
In the absence of earwax obstructions, however,
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但是,在没有 积攒太多耳屎的情况下
05:31
it’s generally best not to mess with the ways of the wax.
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最好不要乱清洁你的耳朵。
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