Clean up your ears!
Jan 15, 2016 at 7:02 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 33

Giogio

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Some will think "what has this to do with sound science?".
Well, what do we use to hear the sound?
Exactly...
 
I have noticed yesterday that I was hearing differently from each ear.
So I have used the function "reverse stereo channel" and "stereo to mono" on Foobar, and I have realized that it was not the recording but me.
Strong of this discovery I have took my cotton swabs and cleaned all well.
Till I became almost deaf from the left side, due to pushing the earwax inside instead of pulling it outside. Which is what Cotton Swabs do, always no matter how you use them. They may clean something away but they always push something inside.
I did not panic, because it was the second time it was happening (the first, some years ago, I did panic).
I have tried to solve it myself, with warm shower directly in the ear, more cotton swab wet and warm...
No way.
So this morning I went to the otolaryngologist, and he did his job, with pressurized warm water, and a sort of mini vacuum cleaner.
Surprisingly, he has found as much earwax on the right side. He said I was still hearing "well" from that side because probably there was a tunnel of air in the pack of earwax.
He said "NEVER use cotton swab, just shower and gently clean the outside with a towel. The ears push the earwax outside by themselves. Anyway in three months come again and we see if your ears produce abnormal quantity of earwax which needs to be cleaned by us regularly. Otherwise, shower and towel, period".
 
It feels like being born again.
I highly suggest you to go to the otolaryngologist as soon as possible, you may have a lot of earwax there without noticing it. No matter if you used cotton swab or not, there may be (there probably is) a great amount of earwax in your ears which is sucking the soul away from your music and your $$$($) equipment.
 
Jan 15, 2016 at 9:45 AM Post #2 of 33

watchnerd

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My earwax production seems to go up if I wear earbuds/IEMs a lot.
 
Jan 15, 2016 at 12:38 PM Post #3 of 33

Giogio

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You mean seriously, or as a joke (like, "as I must stick them inside, they come out with that thing on them, so it seems that it has increased")?
 
Anyway, the doctor was sensitive when I called the earwax "dirt". He said "it is not Dirt. It is Skin secretion".
 
At least now I am more aware of my ears. And I am doing more experiments, not only reversing the stereo channel and doing stereo to mono, but also physically inverting left and right side on my head to see if one speaker is damaged (I had not though about this yesterday).
And I have discovered that even a very slight change in the position of the driver with my ear, will make the bass (particularly the punch) feel stronger or weaker. And I do not think it is a matter of "less sealing" because when the sealing is not good my headphones (with bass pushed as much as I push it) distort. I think it is rather a matter of positioning of angle and distance of the driver respect to the ear duct.
 
And I confirm that with my right ear I hear things a bit darker. It cannot be due to earwax because it is all out, so this could be another proof that anatomy MUST be considered, in the pursuit of the perfectly neutral sound.
@RRod, may this be an example of psychoacoustic trait which cannot be discovered by doing anatomical tests of "can you here this frequency at this loudness?".
I am not sure. Maybe this "darkness" is the result of a lesser amount of perceived high frequencies. Which could be discovered with an anatomical test.
 
Jan 15, 2016 at 1:23 PM Post #4 of 33

spruce music

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yes, your ear secretes cells and wax to push slowly outward.  A sort of self cleaning mechanism.  If you have to commonly use IEMs or internal foam ear plugs for high noise you periodically push back inside what has taken a long time to get out.  Eventually it backs up causing a problem.

Some doctors if you have this problem repeatedly will advise you can do cleaning at home with an ear cleaning bulb.  Some doctors don't like that.  Another suggestion by some doctors is to put a few drops of baby oil in your ear once every couple weeks.  Leave it for a few minutes and let it drain out.  This has the effect of softening the ear wax build up making it easier to move toward the outside of the ear. 
 
I am not a doctor so ask yours about doing such things if you need it.
 
Jan 15, 2016 at 4:27 PM Post #6 of 33

castleofargh

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it doesn't hurt to tell people about how we can take care of our ears, but I don't diagnose myself reading online medical websites(I found out that I almost always have bubonic plague when I look online and that the best way to treat it is coca cola+paracetamol).
and the same way, when I want to know something about my ears, I go see the guy who does that for a living.
wink_face.gif

 
Jan 15, 2016 at 4:40 PM Post #7 of 33

Rearwing

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Thank you for raising this Giogio, ear hygiene is really important for us as headphone enthusiasts, and not just for iem users. Long term use of on ear and over the ear headphones can create the perfect environment for bacteria, so please just take a moment to read up about looking after your ears and how to clean them safely.
 
Happy listening
 
Jan 15, 2016 at 7:50 PM Post #8 of 33

Giogio

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Quote:
  Thank you for raising this Giogio, ear hygiene is really important for us as headphone enthusiasts, and not just for iem users.

What shocked me the most is that mine was not a lack of hygiene. What the doctor told me feels actually upside down, because what I believed an improvement of hygiene (cleaning deeper with swabs) was only making damage, and what I considered lack of hygiene (cleaning the outer part of the ear duct with the towel after the shower) is the best hygienic measure.
 
Jan 16, 2016 at 2:08 AM Post #9 of 33

Rearwing

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  Quote:
What shocked me the most is that mine was not a lack of hygiene. What the doctor told me feels actually upside down, because what I believed an improvement of hygiene (cleaning deeper with swabs) was only making damage, and what I considered lack of hygiene (cleaning the outer part of the ear duct with the towel after the shower) is the best hygienic measure.


No offence intended and none taken I hope. You are right, I was always taught that q-tips are for external use only and should never be inserted into the ear, if only because the lint can separate from the stem. Thanks again for raising this important issue.
 
Jan 16, 2016 at 4:04 PM Post #10 of 33

dprimary

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  My earwax production seems to go up if I wear earbuds/IEMs a lot.


That would be expected, you are pushing the wax into the canal. It is common problem with people that wear hearing aids. I went with my grandfather once to get his hear aid checked and have his  ears cleaned. I was amazed oh much impacted wax they pulled out. I know there is some over the counter systems to clean your ears. I don't have any idea if they are effective. It might be something worth looking to for people that wear IEM often.
 
Jan 16, 2016 at 6:16 PM Post #12 of 33

castleofargh

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  My earwax production seems to go up if I wear earbuds/IEMs a lot.


That would be expected, you are pushing the wax into the canal. It is common problem with people that wear hearing aids. I went with my grandfather once to get his hear aid checked and have his  ears cleaned. I was amazed oh much impacted wax they pulled out. I know there is some over the counter systems to clean your ears. I don't have any idea if they are effective. It might be something worth looking to for people that wear IEM often.

I have a spray I use like once a month that kind of dissolves the wax. it won't remove a big dump of it, but on not already clogged ears, it's very fine.
but abusing this stuff is much worst than doing nothing. the wax plays a role and at first I would use this like twice a week, and succeeded in getting my ear infected. after taking a shower the water wouldn't get out as well as it normally does. so not the brightest plan to use it too often. wax is not the enemy.
and I personally would never scratch wax off by myself or let a friend do it with the wooden spatula popular in some Asian cultures, I clearly want an audiologist to do it if I feel like one ear might be blocked.
 
 
No offence intended and none taken I hope.

Absolutely not. I am the less offendable person you will find in internet :)


biggrin.gif
 
 
Jan 16, 2016 at 7:56 PM Post #13 of 33

Giogio

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I personally would never scratch wax off by myself or let a friend do it with the wooden spatula popular in some Asian cultures
biggrin.gif
 

I have goose bumps just thinking that somebody could stick something in my ears and eventually perforating them making me deaf. Are they crazy?
I know they must be doing it since always, but there is always a risk.
 
About being easily offended, your picture remembered me of a friend of mine. I told her once "you know you are kind of touchy?" and she looked at me angry and said "what, me touchy?".
confused_face_2.gif

 
Jan 24, 2016 at 7:10 AM Post #14 of 33

Spineur1

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I also use audi-sprays.  Their price is ridiculous considering that its not much more than salted water.  Furthermore, their use is unpleaseant.  But they do clean the inside of the ear all the way to the eardrum.  Also,  they remove small amounts of excess wax from you hairs which contribute to your good earing.
 

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