I went for my yearly physical last week for a quick checkup. He did all of the normal stuff and I was feeling fantastic. Great blood pressure, eyes looked good, clear lungs, strong heart … and then he looked in my ears.
“Oh my,” he said.
WTF did that mean?
“Is everything OK?” I asked.
“You have quite a bit of wax in here, it’s making it hard to see. We’re going to need to clean that out.”
I was positively mortified. It made me feel gross and dirty. I am not sure why. I mean, it’s not like I could control it. But still to hear your doctor say that he needs to “clean something out” is unsettling. He brought over this thing that looked like a pen with a light on it. He placed it in my ear and started moving it around. It was not awesome. It hurt like a bitch as he was scraping the hell out of my ears. Once he pulled the impacted wax out, my embarrassment went away and my curiosity was officially piqued. I couldn’t believe the glob of gross brownish-orange gunk that he had just pulled out of my ear. And he wasn’t done — he went back for more! Barf.
After a few trips into that ear, he went over to the other side and did the same thing. Once again, nasty wax kept coming out and it appeared there was no end in sight. How in the hell was I able to hear anything? I was shook. Seriously, I wish that I had taken a picture of that tissue, because shit! After he had finished extracting all of my innards, it was an awkward, “Thanks, see you next time,” and I left.
I got home and was still thinking about that wax. Was this common? Would it happen again? Should I be concerned? Yes, these are all things that I should have just asked the doctor, but I was in a hurry, and humiliated, so I turned to Dr. Google. Well, that was just a treasure trove of information. Impacted cerumen, the fancy name for a shit ton of earwax, can cause all kinds of problems like hearing loss, tinnitus, itching and even vertigo. Interesting. But I really wanted to know about getting it out of there and if I could do it myself. I shouldn’t have looked it up. But I did, and here we are.
Before I knew what had hit me, I was on TikTok watching earwax removal videos and I couldn’t stop. OMG. Have you watched them? You should. No, you shouldn’t. I mean, yes, yes, you should. It is the most fascinating and grossest thing I have ever seen. There are people that have so much wax in their ears, it is like bulging out of the canal. For the love of God, how do you not know that? I guess you can’t see in your own ear canal, but someone has to have seen it. Your spouse, a kid, the man next to you on the bus. I swear to God, if I ever see this, I am telling someone. No one should be walking around with a plug like that sticking out!
OK, so once the doctor (I’m assuming? I have no idea who is actually doing these removals) starts going after the wax it is fascinating. Sometimes it’s a quick scoop with this thing called a curette, but other times, it’s more intense. Some of these people have wax balls that are like glue and all stuck to the hair in the ear and they have to keeping scraping to detach it from the ear canal. I was sitting there rooting them on, “Yeah! You go. Get that wax. Come on, you can do it.” I was gritting my teeth kind of in disgust and a little bit in satisfaction. OK, a lotta bit in satisfaction.
Other people had earwax that was kind of flaky, so they picked at that and got it kind of crumbly and grabbed what appeared to be tweezers and pulled it out. That was also nice to watch. But the best is when they get out the sucking machine. The doctor sticks that it the ear and poof, that wax is gone in an instant. I watched for at least an hour and then I had to go to bed. I thought I was done watching. Boy was I wrong.
The next day my FYP was filled with earwax removal videos and then they sprinkled in some pimple pops and holy shit! I liked those too. WTF is wrong with me? Am I disgusting? I think maybe I am. My husband can’t even look at the TV if anything medical is on, so I knew that I couldn’t share it with him. But what about my kids —were they like me?
I started with my oldest son who groaned and walked away. My second son started to gag. My third son was indifferent. And my five-year-old daughter, she loved it! Thank God I’m not the only freak in my house. We grabbed some popcorn and kept watching.
That girl had commentary to go along with the videos that I quite enjoyed. She discussed color, texture, and stickiness. She prefers the dark globs that are removed with a tweezers. I like the suction. We both agreed that the flakey earwax is a bit too gross for our liking. The two of us also have an affinity for blackheads, but we aren’t as interested in cysts. I could have sat there with her all day, but alas I have a life outside of people’s ears.
Is earwax nasty? Yes. Am I embarrassed that I like it? Kind of. Will this be discouraging me from watching these videos again? Absolutely not. I feel the same way about pimples. I kind of like it. But I think wax and zits are all that I can handle. I really want to Google toenail fungus, but I am afraid there just aren’t enough hours in the day….OK, maybe just one quick search….