If you’ve got a history of blocked ears, then you know something about ear wax. This isn’t the sexiest of topics, but you’ve got to admire the automatic cleaning functions of the human body. Wax is a secretion that protects the ear canal from infection. Technically a liquid, the wax is also self-draining. The stuff does its job; I’ve honestly taken my ear wax for granted.
On occasion, the wax builds up inside the ear. Doctors will tell you to stop poking at the problem with a finger or cotton swab—the wax will only be compacted and pushed further into the canal. (My elderly grandfather, who used to play with shotguns and dynamite, fearlessly attacked his ear with a bobby pin. . . but try telling him to knock that habit.)
My father and I have both endured flushes at the doctor’s office to clear these aural obstructions. It’s a good idea to help out the doctor in advance by applying a softening agent like Debrox or hydrogen peroxide to the blocked ear. Your hearing will thank you for your attentiveness!
Photo: Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Body (20th U.S. edition)