IQ-tips: Q-tips?


Since this regular feature is called IQ-tips, I knew one day, sooner or later, like when the power in my part of Los Angeles went out ("˜cause you knew it was bound to happen), I'd throw up a quick post with tips on how to clean your ears.

Take it from me, the fool who went and bought those whacky ear candles to cone the wax out with fire and nearly set the house ablaze, the best way to clean out your ears is to have a doctor or nurse do it professionally. In a matter of minutes, you'll be hearing high frequencies you didn't even know you missed.

As for Q-tips, or anything smaller than your finger, your mother was right! Don't do it. The wax just gets pushed down deeper and compacts.

I'll leave you, after the jump, with four fascinating ear facts, courtesy of Procare.


1. The three smallest bones in your body are all found in your middle ear. Together they're called the ossicles; separately they're the malleus (hammer), incus (anvil) and stapes (stirrup).

2. Anyone can learn to wiggle their ears by contracting the muscles of the scalp above, behind and in front of the ears. See if you can teach yourself!

3. Carsickness and seasickness happen when the brain gets confused by the mixed messages it's receiving from your eyes and the balance mechanism in your ears.

4. Hear that clicking sound in your ears when you swallow? That's your Eustachian tube, which runs between your middle ear and the back of your nose, popping open to allow air into your ears and equalise the pressure on either side of your eardrums. To protect your ears from sudden painful changes in pressure, such as when you descend in an aeroplane, suck a sweet, yawn or equalise by holding your nose while you 'blow' air out of it.