While most people were enjoying superbowl commercials and/or a fantastic win by the Saints yesterday, I was doing something equally exciting: sitting in urgent care in Las Vegas while Alexander held a bed pan up to my head, and a nurse sprayed gallons of water into my ear through a needle-like contraption trying to bust the earwax out so I could hear again. I can’t decide which time is more embarrassing: that one time in college with my then-doctor’s really attractive intern being the one to blast through the earwax fortress, or having my boyfriend of over three years being the one holding the bedpan. Decisions, decisions…
For whatever reason, my ears produce a ridiculous amount of earwax. And before anyone gets too disgusted, I’m not one of those people who has earwax where you can see it. No, it hides out deep inside my ears out of sight, and gradually builds a wall so tight that my hearing slowly degrades until all of a sudden I wake up and I can’t hear (yesterday). So every few years, I have to go into a doctor and have them clean out my ears for me. And every time, without fail, they ALWAYS say “I have NEVER seen/heard of anyone’s ears producing this much wax! Your ears produce a crazy amount of earwax!”
Here are a few things we know: First, earwax is actually a protective mechanism. The wax is created to protect the inside of the ears from nasty things like infections. My ears, apparently, are extra protective. Second, Q-Tips DO NOT help. Every time I see a doctor for this, they always tell me not to use Q-Tips because it’s deep in the ear anyway, and all Q-Tips will do is pack more stuff down in there. And I always tell them that I do not use Q-Tips, because the very first time I had this done I was told not to. But what do friends, family, random strangers, etc. tell me whenever I mention this earwax problem? “Oh, you should try using Q-Tips after you get out of the shower.”
Really? REALLY? Is it possible that as a person with chronic earwax issues that I have never, in my 25 years of life on earth, heard of the (faulty) earwax remedy called a Q-Tip or tried using one? Sometimes I want to be like “Oh, really? A Q-Tip? What’s that? Maybe that simple little gadget that comes in packs of 250 for $1.99 will be the solution to all of my life’s ear problems! Thank you for saving me!” No, my friends. Q-Tips may make you feel better when you get out of the shower for purposes of getting that little bit of water out of your ears, but it doesn’t actually help with earwax issues, particularly deep-in-the-ear-where-tips-can’t-reach issues.
The cool thing about getting my ears cleaned out is that for a few days afterward (until the little worker bees in my ears start building up the ole earwax wall of defense again) I have sort of super-human hearing. I can hear conversations really far away. The slightest touch of… well… anything… sounds really loud. I remember the last time I had this done, in law school, I went to my civil procedure class right after, and the sound of 100+ students all turning pages of their textbooks in class almost killed me. But on the bright side, for the first time all semester, I could actually HEAR my civ pro professor! Up until that point, I had no idea what he was saying about 80% of the time. Maybe that’s why I knew Civ Pro so well though… I had to teach myself since I couldn’t hear the prof.