This episode is, I have to admit, a little bit on the weird side! But if you bear with me, it is important, and every single vocalist out there who deals with loud volumes, headphones or especially in ears monitors, will have to deal it with at some point. I’m talking about earwax! Yuck, I know, but it is a reality. the way your body and your ears deal with constant loud volumes is by producing ear wax, and as you age, copious amounts of wax in an attempt to protect your hearing.
Unfortunately, I can tell you from experience the earwax doesn’t always help and if you experience loud volume on a constant basis unfortunately you will not only have to deal with ear wax but also with hearing loss as well. the hearing loss unfortunately I can’t help you with… but the earwax I can! One thing that you don’t wanna do is use Q-tips to try and dig the wax out of your ears. What that ends up doing is while yes, it does get some of it, it compacts the rest and compounds the problem with blockages. Even though it might feel good when you get that itchiness in there comma it’s not helping you at all.
At one point in time, I even tried something called candling… that one was a total bust and didn’t do anything at all. Sometimes soaking in a nice hot tub will loosen and melt the wax and it can drain naturally, which is the way that I dealt with it when I was younger. Unfortunately, as you age your ears produce more and more wax and that approach stops working. Another way of dealing with this is going to your doctor and having them “flush the ear canal”. what they do, is take a syringe with warm water and squirt the warm water into the ear canal and as the water comes back out it will bring chunks of wax with it. Yes, this does work, but the one thing that you do need to be careful of, is that the nurse or doctor knows exactly what they’re doing and doesn’t over pressurize the water in the syringe by trying to squirt it too hard. This did happen with me, and they did do damage to my eardrum! It didn’t puncture or permanently do damage to the ear drum, but my ear was quite sore for about a month afterwards before it returned to feeling normal. So I gave up that option. I then moved on to seeing an ENT who is a specialist in ear nose and throat of course. What she would do is stick this long metal rod way down my ear canal and somehow dig the stuff out! I have no idea how it worked, but she was able to dig quite a bit of wax out of each ear every visit. At the time I was seeing her for a different vocal cord issue that I was experiencing at the time, and my ears were a side issue that she took care of. After the vocal cord thing resolved itself, I ended up seeing her for three more years once a year, just as a check up and two clean up the ear canals.
On the last visit, she looked at me and said “you know, there is a much easier way for you to clean your own ears whenever you want and you don’t have to see me for it.” (I think she was getting tired of digging wax out of my head lol) she then went on to tell me about hydrogen peroxide. What you do is you get an eye dropper, some hydrogen peroxide and some Kleenex. You fill up the I dropper with hydrogen peroxide and lay down on your bed with one year facing towards the ceiling. You gently take the dropper and place it right at the opening of the ear canal, and then slowly, very slowly, fill your ear canal with hydrogen peroxide.
Now I have to warn you, this is kind of weird… It begins with a slow hissing sound and then builds up to a bubbling, popping kind of feeling and sound. This can tickle like mad! just move your finger around the outside of the ear and in behind the ear like you’re trying to scratch an itch inside the ear canal ’cause it will be very tickly! But what this does is it completely dissolves the ear wax in your ear! if you can stand it try to leave it in for at least 5 minutes, then put the Kleenex over the ear canal, sit up, and drain the hydrogen peroxide from your ear. The resulting drainage is not gross at all, and is basically clear. But, a majority of the earwax is dissolved! lie down on your other side with the other ear up an repeat. Job done!
Not only does it dissolve all the earwax, it also sterilizes the ear canal just in case there is any bacteria built up in the wax and will help prevent ear infections. I also use this after swimming, particularly in the ocean to ensure good ear health. I wish I would have known this along time ago. I did a gig in Mexico, and was swimming in the ocean. Unfortunately, I contracted an ear infection so bad that it actually closed my ear canal and I was advised by a doctor not to fly as there was a very strong possibility my eardrum would burst. I ended up having to stay an extra week on antibiotics in Mexico and arranging and paying for another flight to come home. Not a great ending to an incredible gig! So there you go, a solution to a problem that most musicians don’t even realize that they will have.
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it and learn something! Hit that subscribe button and share. I’m Mitch Seekins the vocal coach and I will see you later!