Weird Ear, Nose, and Throat Facts

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1. It is estimated that approximately 20,000 liters of air pass through the average adult’s nose every single day.

2. Humans have approximately 12 million olfactory receptor cells, according to the University of Washington, a number that decreases with age.

3. The nose contributes greatly to how we perceive taste.
Your brain perceives the singular sensation of flavor as a combination of a food’s actual taste, smell, and texture, according to Scientific American. Additionally, the openings of your nasal passages contain the cells that perceive smell. These cells then relay information to the mouth by way of what is called olfactory referral.

4. The nose will continue to grow as you age.
While it will reach its main shape by age 19, it will still lengthen and droop with time.

5. The nose produces nearly one whole liter of mucus each day, which you then swallow!

6. Earwax has been useful to anthropologists for studying mankind’s early migratory patterns. Two types of ear wax—wet or dry—help determine, in part, the ancestral routes of different people and how those ancestors migrated to where their descendants now live.

7. Humans can detect more than 10,000 scents.
The human nose has roughly 400 types of scent receptors that can detect at least 1 trillion different odors, a number orders of magnitude beyond the previous estimate of just 10,000 scents, researchers report in Science.

8. Your nose is connected to your memory center.
Olfaction, or smell, is directly connected to the limbic system, the part of the brain thought to be responsible for the attribution of emotion to events.

9. Stress or fear can increase earwax production.
The glands in the ear that help to secrete wax are a class of glands called the apocrine glands, which are also responsible for your smelliest sweat. Just as stress can make you sweat more, it can also increase your earwax production, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

10. Not all living creatures hear with ears. Snakes use jawbones, fish respond to pressure changes, and male mosquitoes use antennae.