An ear-y tale

Among life’s little annoyances is wax buildup in ears. Why do our ears even have wax? Does it serve a purpose, other than to be bothersome and clog up your ear canals and just generally be kind of gross?

I asked the internet and this is what it said (answer is courtesy of

Earwax has several important jobs. First, it protects and moisturizes the skin of [sic] ear canal, preventing dry, itchy ears. Second, it contains special chemicals that fight off infections that could hurt the skin inside the ear canal. Finally, it acts as a shield between the outside world and the eardrum. When dust, dirt, and other things enter your ear, the earwax traps them so they can’t travel any further.

Apparently earwax will magically fall out of your ears without any action on your part. The same site says this explicitly:

If you want to get rid of earwax, here’s what you need to do: nothing!

I can do nothing quite well, so I am set. My doctor confirmed the same today (that no action is needed against wax, not that I generally excel at doing nothing) when I had both ears squirted repeatedly with a syringe of warm water to remove approximately two kilograms of embedded wax.

Before this squirting occurred, I spent 11 (!) nights putting drops of extra virgin olive oil in each ear before going to bed. Putting oil in your ears is as much fun as it sounds like. It generally didn’t dribble out, but laying on my side and waiting for the oil to settle/soak in for ten minutes night after night was not an experience I am eager to repeat. Much like ear wax itself, it was annoying and kind of yucky.

Speaking of, when the deed was done, I took a photo of the results floating in the container that I had to hold up to my ears to catch the water. It is kind of appalling to think that stuff was inside my body. Just thinking about it makes me not want to eat for the next week. Or year.

I thought about posting the photo here, perhaps behind a spoiler tag, but it’s just too vile. It will be my own special (?) memory. Maybe I’ll add some googly eyes to the container one day and then post it. For now, no one gets to see and everyone should be grateful.

Here’s to my ears not immediately clogging up again in a month’s time.

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