Ear We Go: More TikTok Bad Earwax Advice To Ignore

Ear wax removal by microsuction -removing the earwax

Ear wax is a naturally occurring substance and is vital for maintaining your ear health, as it helps capture debris that might otherwise get inside your ear and cause an infection or blockage. But sometimes excess wax can be a problem in itself.

The question then is what you should do about it. The obvious solution might be to see a specialist and have it treated through means such as microsuction, but, as ever, there are lots of online influencers out there with their homespun ‘life hacks’ who will tell you they have a better way.

When not telling you Vitamin C wards off Covid better than the vaccination or that a few mashed vegetables put through a blender can clear up skin problems, they will turn their attention to ear wax. Not only can their advice often be ineffective, but sometimes downright dangerous.

The latest instance has been highlighted by CBS News in the US. It has picked up on the new TikToker trend of ‘ear cleaning’.

No, this is not a repeat of the advice you were given as a child to “wash behind your ears” before school. Instead, it is the idea that involves scraping your ears clean of wax.

Therein lies the problem. As stated above, while excess wax can be an issue, the substance is there for a reason, which is to protect your ears. Remove it all and you will be an open goal for every big, bit of dust or anything else that can get in.

Discussing this online trend, Dr. Brian Lamb from Allegheny Health Network said: “It makes us cringe, but you don’t realise, your ear is a very delicate organ.”

Explaining that ears are meant to be self-cleaning and that ear wax has a purpose, he added: “It helps capture things that are flying in there that aren’t supposed to be there from dusts to even as gross as it sounds, bugs.” 

Not only is this a problem, but the home-made tools used to scrape the inside of the ear can also do damage in some very sensitive spots, with potential for long-term harm.

“If you’re scraping incorrectly you can actually cut the skin which can then lead to bacterial infections,” Dr Lamb warned, concluding. “You could, in the worst-case scenario, actually puncture your drum.”

Of course, it is not just on TikTok that social media viewers can see earwax being removed. YouTube does it too. But in the latter case, you may be more likely to see something different from an influencer telling you ‘how to do it yourself’; instead you can see lots of videos of the procedure being done by professionals, including microsuction.

Some people get a strange kick out of watching such videos, in the same way, many enjoy YouTube footage of things like pimples being popped and blackheads squeezed out.

The take-home message you should get from such videos is that when earwax gets bad, you should get help from the professionals. That’s how it should be. Whatever you do, never get your advice on earwax (or any medical matter) from TikTok.