Monday, October 04, 2010

Ear Drops vs. Olive Oil

From time to time I get a build up of wax in my ears - a product of some unfortunate genes. Strangely I have never really given this problem my full attention. I poke around with cotton-wool buds and often make matters worse. And so it was a week ago.

OK, I 'm finally taking this problem seriously. I googled "Ear Wax Removal" and was informed that cotton buds just ram the wax further in. Yes, that was my experience.

So olive oil is the answer, followed by syringing with warm water. OK, I've tried the oil now for a few days but my ears are still clogged. It's extraordinary how irritating and depressing it is to feel insulated from the world, to hear a kind of faint white noise all the time, and most of all to feel the pressure of something blocking the ear canal.

This morning we went down to Boots and bought ear drops. My thought was that this was probably pointless and that the olive oil treatment should just be continued. But actually the ear drop fluid is different in two interesting ways.

1. It's considerably denser and more viscous than olive oil (it's probably glycerine).

2. It contains carbamide peroxide which makes a fizzing sound in the ear canal.

My hypothesis is that the oxygen bubbles contribute to mechanically loosening the wax while the increased fluid density is intended to float the wax off the skin surface.

Any, after one application this morning there hasn't been a huge improvement so I'll just continue as the instructions suggest.

Take home lesson: no more cotton buds poked into ears!

I also got feedback from the Wells computer repair shop this morning. The fan in my Advent notebook computer is definitely broken - the bearings have gone. However sourcing a replacement is very difficult and Richard is now reduced to looking on eBay: I don't have much hope.

However, this is a lesson in shopping at the bottom of the market: Advent computers, PC World's own brand, have proved unreliable and poorly constructed. The keyboard in particular has not impressed. My next machine will be lightweight, compact and reassuringly expensive.