I have narrow ear canals, so my wax doesn’t drain properly. I end up with a build-up that clogs my right ear about every 2-3 months. Over the years, one of the doctors pointed out that it would happen mostly with the change of the seasons, which I find is true. It just so happens to be my right ear, and in case you haven’t been paying attention, I also have TMJ on my right side, and I had Silent Sinus Syndrome on my right side. I used to joke that my left brain is inferior and that’s why I’m left-handed (which is controlled by my right brain). My left ear also has a narrow canal, but it doesn’t get as clogged as much as my right ear, even though it also has an annoying amount of wax.
The only way for me to get the wax out completely is to have the doctor’s office irrigate my ears. The first time, I almost passed out. I think the water was too cold. It was funny, because I was young, and I felt all woozy, and I thought “Wow, what if I throw up?” Then I thought, “This is a doctor’s office, they should be equipped to handle such a disaster.” And so I stopped worrying about that woozy fading feeling. Then my doctor turned around and looked at me and said, “Are you OK?” and I said, “I feel….different”. He quickly laid me down and gave me some smelling salts to bring me back.
I’ve been somewhat annoyed at my doctor lately because when I’d have an appointment for something else, I’d also mention that I want my ears irrigated. The past couple of times after getting to my appointment, they said they were too busy to do that for me (apparently, if I make the early appointment before the regular receptionist comes in, then the person who would do the irrigation is busy with the front desk also.). So, last week my ear was clogged and the regular debrox wasn’t working. I felt pretty miserable, but I didn’t particularly want to pay the $25 copay just to have them splash some water in my ear. I ended up biting the bullet and calling the doctor’s office. I specifically asked to talk to the nurse who would do the irrigation to make sure I could get a commitment to irrigate my ears. When she irrigated it, it felt SO GOOD to hear again.
Of course, it had been a long time since I’ve had them irrigated (because they kept not having time), and the over-the-counter debrox had been helping. I never felt completely rid of the wax, but at least it would be enough to unclog the ear. When I went to the doctor last week, I asked the physician assistant about prevention. I was asking if mineral oil would actually work, and if I could use baby oil or if the scent would be bad to put in my ear. She told me to just use Debrox once a week or so. OK. I didn’t really like using the debrox unless I had to, but I guess it must be pretty safe.
On a related note, here’s an article about the evils of using q-tips. I agree that I shouldn’t stick q-tips into my ear. I’ve tried it on several occassions, but the problem with my ears is the narrow ear canal – I can’t get the q-tip all the way in, so it just pushes the wax down in there to where I can’t reach it. One time, I pulled some of the cotton off of the q-tip, and then I was able to push it in farther. I won’t talk about what came out, but it wasn’t pretty. I think it’s funny how all the commenters are talking about how good it feels – comparable to orgasms, or ear-gasms if you will. That was exactly what Clint said to me when we first started dating. He had asked me to rate 6 things. I can’t remember what the six things were, but they included sex, driving, and cleaning your ears. I ranked cleaning my ears as number 6. But getting my ears irrigated at the doctor’s office with that huge syringe thing can also give that ear-gasmic feeling. In fact, I just experienced it last week.