Revised:  07/09/2004













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 Debrox. There are several products available at your average drugstore for ear wax removal, but Debrox is my personal favorite. I put a couple of drops in each ear before I go to bed. I leave my head turned to one side for a few minutesóno more than 5 minutesóafter I put the drops in so they can "sink in." I canít hear very well right after I put the drops in, which is why I prefer to do this before bed. (But 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.) When I wake up the next morning, I can hear much better, and my ears feel good again. 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 Debrox 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.  I find that itís better not to use Debrox every day, but only when needed (which is usually twice a week for me).
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. Now the routine is just like before. 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 Debrox can do.





 What do you do?

Have a Helpful Hint of your own that you'd like to share? Email me, and I'll get it posted here.














I know it's bad!

Yes, I recognize that putting a bobby 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.


Thanks 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.














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