Last updated January 1, 2013
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Picture of doctor shrugging


Yes, I know it's bad!


Yes, I recognize that putting a bobby pin in your ear to pull out the wax goes against conventional wisdom and carries a risk of injury. That's why I've tried to explain as plainly as possible that this is what works for me and that you should only do this yourself if you assume the risk.  I can't possibly make a trip to see my ENT every week and I can't adequately remove the skin and wax without a bobby pin.  This is my personal solution to what would otherwise be a major problem for me.


Thank you in advance for your concern, but please don't send me email telling me I shouldn't be doing this.  If you personally consider it too dangerous, then don't do it--I'm not suggesting you do.  I'm just sharing what works for me.


Ear Hints

Many people with ichthyosis also have trouble with skin and wax build-up in their ears. When my ears are getting "plugged up", not only is my hearing effected (Iíve got the TV and the radio turned up extra loud because I canít hear, and Iím asking soft-spoken people to repeat themselves!), I also get headaches that I attribute to my ears. Two things help me.

  • First, I use Similisan Ear Wax Relief. There are several products available at your average drugstore for ear wax removal, but Similisan is my personal favorite. I put a couple of drops in each ear when I get out of the shower each morning. I leave my head turned to one side for a minute or two after I put the drops in so they can "sink in." I canít hear very well right after I put the drops in, but that clears within 20 minutes or so. (If I have a headache that I think is being caused by my ears being plugged up, Iíll go ahead and do this during the day regardless.) In the shower, Iíll get plenty of warm water inside my ears to further loosen up whatís built up inside. Next, Iíll carefully use a bobby pin to scoop out the wax and skin that the Similisan has loosened up.  (Most doctors would tell you not to do this; it works for me, but definitely do this at your own risk, not at my advice).   Of course, I'm careful not to stick the bobby pin too far down, because I could damage the ear canal or my ear drum.  But I find that the aid of a bobby pin is an important part of the process that keeps my ears their cleanest.  With non-homeopathic products, I found that it was better not to use them every day, but only when needed (which was usually twice a week for me).  With Similisan, though, I seem to do best using it every day (except the day described below).
  • Also, once a week I "do my hair" (where I cream the scalp with a lactic acid cream, and then occlude it overnight). At this time, Iíll carefully put some of of the lactic acid cream actually down in the ear canal. Iíll sleep with it like that (I really canít hear nowóitís just like having ear plugs in!), and in the morning, in the shower, use warm water and a bobby pin to carefully pull out the cream and the skin/wax. This is more thorough/extreme than what any over-the-counter ear wax drops can do.