LEICESTERSHIRE, U.K. - An audiologist could hardly believe the size of a massive earwax chunk he had just pulled out of his patient’s ear during a Feb. 22 procedure that was captured on video.
“Wow! Look at that!” Neel Raithatha, a consultant audiologist at The Hear Clinic in Leicestershire, said in the video.
Raithatha, whose patient was not identified in the clip, initially estimated that the chunk of earwax measured the entirety of the ear canal, and he wasn’t far off. The earwax measured at 1 inch (2.5 centimeters), falling just 0.19 inches (0.5 centimeters) short of taking up the whole ear canal.
“Both the client and I were in complete shock,” Raithatha said, according to Metro.co.uk. “My reaction upon removal was ‘Wow’ and the client’s reaction when he saw the piece of ear wax himself was to say, ‘Oh my goodness.’”
Footage from the procedure shows Raithatha using a suction tool to dislodge the wax through the patient’s ear. He told Metro.co.uk that despite the amount of buildup, his patient’s eardrum was “intact and healthy.”
Experts say that some earwax is good for the ears, and patients should generally leave it alone. Earwax acts as a natural cleanser and moves from the ear canal outward collecting dead skin cells, hair and dirt on its way, according to Harvard Health Publishing. But an ear canal backed up with earwax may cause earaches or infections, or even other issues such as a cough or loss of hearing.
Seeking medical help to remove the earwax is one of the most common otolaryngology procedures in the U.S., according to Harvard Health Publishing. However, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation advises against overcleaning the ear canal to prevent irritation or infection. It also advises against using cotton swabs, hair pins, keys, toothpicks or other objects while attempting to clear the canal.