Earwax Removal Videos Are The Disturbing Internet Trend You Never Asked For

by Clint Edwards
Auburn Medical Group / YouTube (left) BuzzFeedBlue / YouTube (right)

In the past few months, we’ve covered a couple nasty video trends, including Dr. Pimple Popper and Tonsil Stone Removals. I’m not sure what it says about me that I always seem to be on the nasty video beat, but I have another one for you. Turns out online viewers have a real thing for earwax removal.

Yep, ear wax.

I know, I know. I threw up in my mouth a little bit, too, when I heard about this, but it’s an actual thing and people are watching it. Millions of people in fact. But before we go into the surprising amount of views, let’s talk about the original problem. No, not the problem of people actually watching these videos for entertainment. Answering that question is above my pay grade. Let’s talk about the issue of earwax itself, because if you have ever used a Q-tip, you might want to stop. Immediately. Like, right the hell now.

I think I might have heard somewhere that you should never put anything in your year, but I never really paid much attention. Let’s be honest, there is something incredible satisfying about jamming a Q-tip all the way in, digging around for a bit, and pulling out a large goop of nastiness. I just feel healthier, and cleaner too.

But according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, what we’re actually doing when we shove a cotton swab in our ear is shoving earwax deep down into the ear canal, probably something akin to packing a cannon, which just doesn’t sound all that safe. And it’s not because sometimes all that earwax-packing jumps the shark, and you wind up with major blockage that cannot be removed without medical assistance.

But I use a Q-tip each night before bed, and this has never happened to me, you might be saying. And that may be true because it turns out that some folks are just luckier than others. I suppose, when we’re talking about earwax, “lucky” is all relative. According to the Cleveland Clinic website, everything from age to the shape of your ear can make some people particularly susceptible to serious blockage, but the one unifying factor is Q-tips, Q-tips, Q-tips…

Given our penchant for sticking things in our ears, a few doctors have turned earwax removal videos into yellow and green gold (see what I did there?). For instance, the Auborn Medical Group has racked up literally millions of views from Dr. Mark Vaughan’s awkwardly narrated videos of earwax removal. In one video (see below), Vaughan actually removes a large blockage from his former English teacher. To which we can only say, ewww. Then again, in some strange way, I bet this was oddly satisfying too. Were it my English teacher, I’d have finally understood why she kept screaming, “Speak up, son! I can’t hear a word of what you said.”

I must admit, however, there is something oddly entertaining about watching a thumb-sized glob of earwax being removed. You can’t help but feel relived watching others being relieved of this burden.

When I was in junior high, I had a really nasty ear infection. Once it was all over, the doctor had to pump fluid into my ear to clean out the remaining infection. At one point, around the middle of the procedure, I remember looking at my father who looked completely grossed out but also rather satisfied too. I imagine I had a similar expression on my face when I watched some of the best earwax removal videos the internet had to offer.

If you are still with me at this point, you must be a least a little bit curious, so here are three of the most popular earwax removal videos I could find.

People Get Earwax Extractions for the First Time (30 Million Wiews)

This video, put together by BuzzFeed, shows three different people who agree to have cameras crammed in their ears so they can see just how nasty it is in there. I’m gagging, but so intrigued.

Suction Clearance of Keratosis Obturan Under General Anesthesia (2.7 Million Views)

In this video, a patient is actually put under with anesthesia so that the blockage can be removed with a small suction tool. Ah, the wonders of modern medicine. According to the online description, “removal of longstanding impacted earwax and keratin from the right ear is shown here. Two previous attempts as outpatient procedure failed…” So yeah…earwax can get serious.

The Most Massive Earwax Removed in One Scoop (4 Million Views)

This may be the most accurate title on the internet ever. In this video, some poor woman with a massive glob of earwax has it removed with one trusty scoop. I have so many questions, like how did she hear anything with this giant animal in her ear?

I don’t want to speak for everyone, but I am pretty nauseated. If you didn’t gag a little watching those, you are a magical unicorn with a stomach of steel.

But if we’ve learned anything from this gross and wild adventure, it’s that you all need to lay off the Q-tips. Seriously. All we need to do is wash the external ear with a cloth, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. The ear is built to remove that nasty wax itself. Trust.

But if you’re like me and unsure whether you can give up that relieving feeling you get from cleaning your ears out with a Q-tip, might I suggest watching the videos above again. The second time might be the charm.