cerumen

Doctors have been saying it forever (almost): the only thing you should put in your ear is your elbow. No swabs, no pencils, no probes, no eyeglass stems should be used to remove earwax, also know as cerumen. In fact, you probably shouldn't be removing cerumen at all. It's produced in the ear canal, and is moved towards the outer opening of the ear by chewing and swallowing movements. As it moves, it carries dead cells and any dirt along. Like colon cleanses, earwax removal is unnecessary the majority of the time. And if it requires removal, someone with the appropriate tools and expertise (such as an otolarygolgist) should do it.

So this advice has been pretty widely ignored for years — according to one...