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Old 09-16-2019, 11:51 AM
Revtim is offline
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Should I be doing something to remove wax from my ears to use in-ear headphones successfully?


Kinda gross, sorry.

Are most people able to use in-ear headphones just naturally without them getting clogged with and covered with ear wax? Or do most people regularly clear the wax from the inside of their ears, perhaps with one of those kits with the drops and the irrigation bulb?
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Old 09-16-2019, 02:57 PM
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Wax is the body's reaction to excessive noise, as it tries to protect itself against it. Eventually, you'll likely suffer hearing loss, as I have. Even after you are no longer exposed to the noise, your ears will likely continue to produce excess wax, which also affects hearing. I use an over-the-counter ear wax product that comes with a bulb for flushing with warm water after the wax is softened.

I'm looking forward to an entire generation who walks around at age 50 going "Eh?"

By the way, I'd have your doctor check your ears before you do anything. And for god's sake, stay away from Q-tips.

Last edited by Chefguy; 09-16-2019 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 09-16-2019, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
Wax is the body's reaction to excessive noise,
I'd like a cite on this please. Wax does protect the ear canal from airborne contaminants but I'm aware of no connection between ear wax production and exposure to noise.

To answer the OP, those squeeze bulbs are fine for regular ear canal cleaning but I've never found the drops to be all that useful. Regular irrigation with plain warm water works well for me.
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Old 09-16-2019, 03:13 PM
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..do most people regularly clear the wax from the inside of their ears, perhaps with one of those kits with the drops and the irrigation bulb?
Those kits can work. However if you have never been to an ear, nose & throat doctor (ENT) it may be wise to go for a check up. They have tools, experience and equipment a regular family doctor does not have. Or you could go to your family Dr. and if there is any issue he can send you to the ENT.
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Old 09-16-2019, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
And for god's sake, stay away from Q-tips.
A family member who was a practicing audiologist for 40-some years always said, "Don't put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear."
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Old 09-16-2019, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Just_Passing_Through View Post
A family member who was a practicing audiologist for 40-some years always said, "Don't put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear."
A 6D nail works for me.





What?
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Old 09-16-2019, 07:49 PM
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A family member who was a practicing audiologist for 40-some years always said, "Don't put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear."
Or bigger.
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:40 PM
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So, my initial question remains unanswered so far.

Are most people able to use in-ear headphones just naturally without them getting clogged with and covered with ear wax? Or do most people regularly clear the wax from the inside of their ears, perhaps with one of those kits with the drops and the irrigation bulb?
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:55 PM
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I suppose this isn't an answer to your question, but I'll suggest it anyway...
About a year ago my hearing in one ear just...stopped. Everything was normal, then nothing, almost like the way your ears pop, but I couldn't unpop them. After a few weeks of waiting and wondering, I went to my GP who tried to clean them but said they were too impacted and sent me to an ENT. The ENT, using more or less the same method as my GP got them cleared out and my hearing was restored.

Last week it happened again, but this time I fixed it on my own. I found that putting some mineral oil in it for about 10 minutes, then Debrox for about another 10 minutes, followed by some aggressive use of a sprayer (like this, which is what the Doctors used) worked perfectly. I did it a few times a day and it was cleared up in just a few days. Enormous chunks of gunk/wax came out with the water. Big enough that I'm surprised that much fit in there.

Going forward, I'm going to try to remember to do that every few months as to avoid having this happen again, especially since my other ear, that I had no issues with, had just as much crap in it.

You can also see an ENT specifically for cleaning them. They'll be more than happy to do it for you.
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Old 09-19-2019, 02:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Revtim View Post
So, my initial question remains unanswered so far.

Are most people able to use in-ear headphones just naturally without them getting clogged with and covered with ear wax? Or do most people regularly clear the wax from the inside of their ears, perhaps with one of those kits with the drops and the irrigation bulb?
I use in-ear headphones a lot and almost never have any issue with earwax. But I swim every day, so I use hydrogen peroxide, then alcohol, in the ear after every swim to avoid build-up and infection. In any case, your ear shouldn't have so much wax that it gets in the headphones.

If they do, the small rubber bulb syringes--the only kind they sell now--are useless. They just don't have enough pressure. Ear drops (Debrox, etc.) and mineral oil don't really help except in minor cases. The device mentioned by Joey P actually helps, but for really seriously impacted wax a Water Pic might be necessary, though one must be extremely carefully not to aim it directly at the eardrum. (Or go to the doctor.)

There was a recent thread where the OP wondered why he had so much ear wax, and was putting mineral oil in every day. Well, duh. Normally, excess earwax naturally falls out because it dries. Putting mineral oil in (supposedly) only loosens the wax, but if it can't dry out because you're putting in oil all the time it will just sit there. Actually, tests don't really show that much effectiveness of mineral oil or Debrox (used alone). The "Elephant Ear" alone is probably sufficient.

Last edited by guizot; 09-19-2019 at 02:17 AM.
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Alpha Twit View Post
I'd like a cite on this please. Wax does protect the ear canal from airborne contaminants but I'm aware of no connection between ear wax production and exposure to noise.

To answer the OP, those squeeze bulbs are fine for regular ear canal cleaning but I've never found the drops to be all that useful. Regular irrigation with plain warm water works well for me.
It appears that you are correct, per a cite on Hospital Health:

Quote:
Loud noises do not cause the ear to produce earwax as a protection mechanism. Instead, earwax secretion is triggered by physical contact. This means that people who wear in-ear headphones, earplugs or hearing aids are more likely to find an increase in earwax. For loud noises to stimulate earwax production, it has to produce significant sound waves that trick the ear into thinking there is physical contact. However, for this to occur, the noise would have to be so loud it would cause permanent damage to the eardrum as well as excruciating pain.
I based my comment on what I was told by a Navy Hospital Corpsman back in the 80s, when I first had a problem with ear wax blockage.
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guizot View Post
. Ear drops (Debrox, etc.) and mineral oil don't really help except in minor cases. The device mentioned by Joey P actually helps, but for really seriously impacted wax a Water Pic might be necessary, though one must be extremely carefully not to aim it directly at the eardrum. (Or go to the doctor.)
It's my understanding that oil will soften the wax (mineral oil, glycerin etc). Debrox is essentially H2O2. I too have read that those won't do any better of a job than just water, but when you've been deaf for a week, you'll try anything. It works for me, so I'll keep doing it.

One thing I did wonder about was that many sites mentioned the use of both H2O2 and saline. It occurs to me that I could just use my Clear Care contact solution. It's not cheap, but it's a lot cheaper than Debrox (and I suppose a cheap bottle of H2O2 would be even cheaper).
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:55 AM
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I am one of those type of people that produce excessive ear wax. I have found a fix for the problem, my doctor says if it works, continue to do it. I use to work in an environment that can be extremely noisy. So I wore foam earplugs quite often. I noticed the first pair of ear plugs worn each day came out pretty nasty, they soak up the ear wax. By the end of the day they come out clean. I don't really need the ear plugs where I work now but at least once a week a pop in a pair for a few hours just to soak up the ear wax.
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Old 09-20-2019, 07:35 AM
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with regard to cleaning ear-canal
  • those bulb syringes don't seem to work very good (at least for me) and they probably get moldy inside the bulb as well.
  • waterpik even though these come with adjustable pressure i would avoid using such devices unless the lowest setting is gentle enough and non-invasive. save the waterpik for tooth flossing (or for zapping flies).
  • rolling the tip of a kleenex into a point should be avoided as this has a tendency in pushing the wax in further.
  • q-tips should never be used never place anything into the ear-canal.
what i use is a common water-spray bottle walmart sells 'em for $2 adjustable nozzle from "off" to "mist" to "stream" and everywhere in between. i set mine between mist and stream. before aiming the nozzle into the ear-canal always test the spray force on a sensitive region of the face. do not touch the nozzle to the ear-canal over time, the nozzle could become contaminated.

tips:
  • use only distilled water not tap-water.
  • if you wish to warm up the water in microwave-oven unscrew/remove the top 'gun'.
  • during the process, tip your head so the liquid can exit via gravity.
  • avoid aiming the stream at the ear-drum.
warning:
i have read, in certain articles, whereas they state micro fissures/holes can appear in the ear-drum that never will heal. purportedly, these can be caused by spray-jets research this for yourself.
use only distilled water as tap-water may contain chemicals which may prove harmful.
never, ever, use spray-bottle that's been used for any other purpose (gardening, cleaning, etc). purchase the item as new and attach a water-proof label/date.
never, ever, place anything in the ear-canal.
probably should only do this once a month else the ear-drum could dry out.
disclaimer:
this is only what i choose to do if you wish to try it, it's your choice gotta' live with any consequences. research and discuss this with your doctor.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/The-Bottl...32-oz/22211163
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