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Ear Wax

Many people feel that if it’s brown and it’s in their ear, it should come out immediately. The truth is that it’s better not to dig it out. Ear wax protects the skin of the ear canal, muffles sound, and isn’t dirty, despite its color. Attempting to scoop it out either pushes it in further or irritates the ear canal. Poking a cotton swab into Lucy’s ear will only pack the wax in deeper, which can interfere with her hearing by forming a plug.

It’s equally unnecessary to melt the wax with oil drops that contain hydrogen peroxide, as some doctors recommend. The notion that excessive ear wax causes hearing problems is doubly wrong. First, most people produce roughly the same amount of ear wax. Like water, however, ear wax seeks its own level, so the more you remove, the more the ear produces. Second, ear wax in itself doesn’t cause hearing loss unless it is artificially packed in.

In short, clean away what you see on the outside, and leave alone what you don’t see on the inside. If you don’t know what’s in there, you won’t be tempted to dig it out.