*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Earwax and Japanese doctors

No, I'm not going to put up any wax pictures with this one.  I think we know what the stuff looks like.  Or do you?  Did you know you have only one of two types?  Cool.

Neither am I going to go into how the Japanese dig in their own ears with one of these, or the ears of their children, lovers, or paying clients.  I won't let my J-wife at mine, because I was taught that nothing goes inside your ear lest you damage it.
The problem with that advice, to put nothing in your ear to clean it, is that it is great advice, until it is useless: impacted ears.

I had six myringotomoies as a kid (tubes in the ear-drum to let out fluid not getting out via a blocked passage to the throat).  It's a crude treatment done less now than heavy antibiotics to get at the root of the infections, but it probably kept me from deafness, even if I am down to half hearing in one ear.  And Canadian doctors are obsessive to their patients to clean just the outside of the ear, or you will impact the wax, or damage the eardrum.  From the point of view of malpractice insurance, the sensible thing to say.  However, for whatever reason my wax does not come out of its own, and convincing a doctor to syringe it, much less use a curette, is an uphill battle.  When I did Aikido I got them knocked out of my head twice on bad landings, which was embarrassing, but now my life is less violent.

In Japan, on the other hand, ask the doctor and he's happy to go in there with a mini-camera (watch on TV!) and a few types of curettes and tidy you up in a moment.  Bliss.

For abroad, from Japan, I finally found a safe method that works very well, thanks to the Internet, and not the doctors:
- fill your ear with a 1:10 baking soda/water solution at body temperature
- keep it there an hour
- plug a sink and drain the ear into it
- gently use an ear bulb with body temperature water a few times
- stare in horror at what has come out of your head
- hear better

I AM NOT A DOCTOR.  This means you are responsible for your own choices, and if you stick a candle in your ear, you are a credulous fuckwit.


  1. This might be a stupid question, but how do you keep the baking soda solution in your ear for an hour?

  2. I got an "Ear pick" as an Omiyage and didn't know what the fuck it was? A blunted tooth pick? I asked and she said "It's for cleaning your ears"

    I'm a wise ass so I took that to mean I wasn't catching her correctly ....or I had funky shit clearly oozing from my ears which I was pretty sure
    wasn't the case.

    Of coarse it had a bell on it and a Miyajima gate to make it all off balance and take away the 1%...the 1% chance I woulda ever used it. To recal that I remember in the same class on the same day another girl gave me a 250mb USB with a recording of a festival she went to.

    Talk about a gap. I know it's the thought that counts but some folks got sense and some got none.

  3. Ha, Chris, are you ever not in form? If the girl of the USB was of age and in a yukata at that festival, well... that would have done for me fine. I got a feeling she was a teenager, so never mind that.

    I've tried the earpick, but gotten freaked out before it got anywhere deep enough. Let the wife, when a GF, have a go once, but the screaming of "NO, get that out of my fucking ear!" was the end of that. I have issues, and this is one... Don't know why I trust the J-doctor. Well, he'd shown competence already, and had a camera to see where he was going.

    kathryn, I lie down on one side watching TV, and generally fall asleep for an hour...

  4. Heh, I had ear wax build-up before and the (CDN) doctor sent me home with a big plastic syringe to fill up with room temp water and squirt in there to get all the gross stuff out. I think it's about time for another cleaning........... ><

    Thanks for the info~

  5. I have wet earwax. As a child if we had problems with wax in our ears our mom would put a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in each ear. The fizzy sound also came with a tickling sensation. But it did a good enough job of loosening the wax. Have you tried this method?

    1. Yeah, 'wet' earwax here too, but that's the norm for 'Caucasians': and since I can burn in the shade, I am as 'Caucasian' as they get. First time the J-wife saw any of mine she was convinced I had an infection and needed to go to the hospital, until I put her on the computer to do research. Think she's still disgusted (ha!) and less than happy that the love of her life - our child - got the 'wet' from my dominant gene.

      Thanks for advice, but I won't try hydrogen peroxide only because I have become neurotic over chemicals in my ear. I had a very painful reaction to 'Murine'.