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Have you heard of viral videos? Don’t worry, this isn’t a computer virus—a viral video is a video that quickly gains popularity on the internet and is shared and seen by millions of people over a short period of time. “Going viral” is a goal for many Youtube users and other content creators. Recently, a wave of videos that depict ear cleaning have gone viral! Keep reading to find out more about this viral videos and how they can promote good hearing and ear health.

Ear health on video

If you struggle with hearing loss, chances are you are familiar with earwax buildup. Temporary hearing loss is often due to this problem and can be treated by clearing the wax from the ear canal. We’ve all had to reach for a Q-tip at some point to clear our ears (which, by the way, you should never do). However, some people deal with incredible wax buildup and have to get it professionally removed—and now, doctors are filming the earwax extraction process and posting it on YouTube!


Dr. Mark Vaughn of Auburn Medical Group in California has posted several videos of removing earwax from patients and has been racking up millions of views. Most of the patients have some degree of hearing loss—mainly due to the hard-packed wax buildup. Dr. Vaughn warns against using Q-tips to clear out your ears, because it often just pushes the wax further in the ear. He uses different methods to remove the earwax—often he starts with irrigation, using water to flush earwax out of the ear. In some cases, he also uses different instruments to pull wax out and avoid damaging sensitive parts of the ear that could be irritated with water.

What this means for ear health

How can these gross (yet strangely satisfying) videos impact hearing and ear health among the general population? Dr. Vaughn is providing a graphic, visual representation of why you should take care of your ears—if you neglect to clean and care for them regularly, this could happen to you! The earwax extraction can be a bit painful so these videos serve as a good warning. Most of his patients are older adults, and these videos are good reminders to incorporate ear health into a daily hygiene routine.


These videos can also lessen some of the stigma about ear health and especially wax buildup. People might be embarrassed about their earwax problem and neglect to clean it out or seek professional help. Each video has hundreds of thousands of views, and hopefully many people that are watching them see that earwax buildup is a fairly normal problem. The videos also show black earwax and earwax that adheres to the eardrum lining, teaching viewers about different types of earwax issues.


The growing popularity of these earwax extraction videos can be very beneficial to normalizing ear health issues and hearing loss. Despite their unsavory content, people love watching these videos! Hopefully, they can be educational to the millions of viewers when it comes to hearing and ear health.


By: Elena McPhillips