No, it's not the most palatable topic for delightful dinner conversation but we all have it so we might as well talk about. It's ear wax. For most of us, it's that brownish gooey material that shows up on the end of a Q-Tip when we clean out our ears.

I know, we're not supposed to use Q-Tips that way but instead of debating the issue take a few steps into the real world with me. That's how people use Q-Tips, don't argue. Heck, this is the South, some people clean their ears with a car key and then smell it. See, I warned you about eating during this article.

By the way, here is the proper way to clean your ears.

Your doctor would call ear wax cerumen. It's a product of the glands of the inner ear canal and yes, ear wax has a purpose. That purpose is to help trap dust, bacteria, and other germs from entering the ear canal and causing damage. The waxy substance also protects the ear canal from irritations such as water. So, despite its bad publicity, it's actually pretty important stuff.

If you're experiencing an abundance of ear wax and your finding your hearing diminished or your experiencing pain in your ears you might want to have a professional remove that waxy buildup for you. Some people just produce more wax than others and that might require regular "cleanings" to keep your hearing in tip-top shape.

If you use earbuds, you know those tiny speakers that fit inside your ear, then you could be increasing your chances of having an ear wax issue. Quite often earbuds carry bacteria and germs into the ear canal. You're actually supposed to clean those things after every use too. Again, like the Q-Tips, I don't know anyone who follows the directions for earbuds either.

So, why do earbuds cause the body to create more earwax?

Quite simply the body responds to the foreign object in the ear canal by creating more wax to protect the ear. Also, jamming those buds in your ears can compact wax that has already built up inside the ear canal. That can lead to a lot of discomforts. 

That could explain why those virtual Zoom and Skype calls are so excruciating. Or it could be that they are simply conference calls and there is no way they can't be painful. Regardless, take care of your ears you're going to need them to listen to the radio.

Now that we are done with the ear wax talk, let's get something to eat.