The ear wash

Took my ears to the ear wash yesterday, with gratifying results. This was just a piece of a complex appointment with my family doctor, but it restored the hearing in my left ear, which had been stopped up with cerumen, aka ear wax.

I’m one of those people who generate vast quantities of ear wax — it’s an inborn thing — and need to get their ears cleaned and washed / irrigated every so often. Astounding amounts of really disgusting earwax in my left ear. But now I can hear again, with both ears!

From Wikipedia:

Earwax, also known by the medical term cerumen [NOAD2: ORIGIN late 17th cent.: modern Latin, from Latin cera ‘wax’] …, is a yellowish waxy substance secreted in the ear canal of humans and other mammals. It protects the skin of the human ear canal, assists in cleaning and lubrication, and also provides some protection from bacteria, fungi, insects and water.

Earwax consists of shed skin cells, hair, and the secretions of the ceruminous and sebaceous glands of the outside ear canal. Major components of earwax are long chain fatty acids, both saturated and unsaturated, alcohols, squalene and cholesterol. Excess or compacted cerumen can press against the eardrum or block the outside ear canal or hearing aids, potentially causing hearing loss.

There are a surprising number of cartoons about ear wax. Here’s a Johnny Optimism strip from last year:

On the strip, from its blog:

Johnny Optimism: What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stranger.

Johnny Optimism is a darkly comic look at a boy who tries to look on the bright side because “things could always get worse.” And they do get worse, time after time.

Johnny interacts with a highly unusual collection of medical professionals, bureaucrats, mean kids, fellow sufferers, a manic helper monkey and more – getting real comfort only from his faithful dog, Lance.

I refuse to believe that the artist is actually named Stilton Jarlsberg; I prefer to think that’s just a cheesy pseudonym.

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