For about a year Ivette had suffered a worsening clogged-up ear. It reduced hearing sensitivity on one side and eventually caused quite discomfiting pressure. A visit to the local GP to remove built-up earwax helped very little. Their antiquated equipment on loan from another practice involved warm water and was pathetically ineffective. So were the 'new-age' ear candles our local health-food store owner recommended and sold. Ivette Googled for options to book an ear-cleaning session with an Ennis audiologist. The affable chap from County Cork who covers eight audiology practices in the wider area for this specialized service looked outfitted like a spelunker. His helmet sprouted a flashlight and extended magnifying glasses for a bit of a mad-scientist vibe. His backpack on the floor contained a pump fitted with a tube about the thickness of my index finger. He also had various black tips for it and one very long strategically bent pair of tweezers. Once the pump fired up to start sucking, he inserted the tube's tip into Ivette's ear and began hoovering. After dislodging a few small balls of softer wax, he began adding his tweezers. Soon he extricated a long cylindrical mass of hardened gunk which had lined Ivette's ear canal. He repeated the procedure and result on the other ear. 15 minutes all in he was done. With plenty of spare time left on Ivette's appointment clock, I asked him to shine his light into my pink bits. Zero build-up. I had no need of his services. He explained that Ivette's inner ears are very dry. Now dead skin particles and the same kind of talc that causes teenage acne combine. That forms a hard dry ever thicker lining or sleeve. Over many years, the ear canal diameter shrinks. Clogged hearing and increased inner pressure are the result. If you suffer or suspect similar symptoms, bypass the warm-water flooding and ear-candle methods to head straight for the nearest audiologist who offers a suction-based ear cleaning service. Such offices aren't just to be fitted for hearing aids. And, the simple recommended maintenance routine for dry inner ears is an olive-oil based spray to keep that skin moisturized. Simple.