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The WaxVac: We give it a test whirl

The company says it removes the excess wax from your ears. But does it really?

If you have a problem with excessive wax in your ears, then you know it can be annoying and sometimes a little painful. And using a Q-tip certainly doesn't help. As a matter of fact, putting a Q-tip or anything else in your ear is just plain bad.

A few years ago, an ear, nose and throat doctor told me that Q-tips are one of the most useless products ever made and they serve no purpose.

I have to see an ear, nose and throat specialist at least every couple of years, because over time the wax in my ears builds up so much, it has to be removed with a machine.

Well, it's been almost two years since I had my last ear cleaning, which means it's time to head back to the doctor's office. But before I made my appointment, I saw this contraption on TV called the WaxVac, which is supposed to safely remove debris and moisture from your ear canal.

So I had to give it a try and I bought one for $19.07 in a nearby mall. But you can purchase a WaxVac on the company's website for $10.

Power drill

The tiny ear cleaner looks like a miniature power drill and comes with eight reusable silicone tips to remove the wax. Plus, it comes with one cleaning brush to keep everything tidy.

The company says the WaxVac is safe to use, because it sucks debris and moisture out of your ear, and doesn't push it in like a Q-tip does. The instructions say you're not supposed to insert the device more than one eighth of an inch into your ear, a warning that should definitely be followed.

In addition, the WaxVac comes with a round safety guard on its end, so you won't be able to insert the tip too deeply. It comes with a small light attached as well, so you can inspect your ear when you're done, if you can figure out how to bend your eye that way. 

There really isn't any assembly required for the WaxVac, you'll just have to unscrew the safety guard, slip on one of the tips, screw the safety guard back on and you'll be all ready to go.

So after I did all of that, I gave it a whirl.

I first noticed how quiet the device was when I turned it on, which was a good thing, because the last thing you want, is a loud buzzing sound going in and out of your ear.

What happened ...

Then I put the tip into my ear. And what happened? Nothing. I didn't feel a pull or any suction from the device, nor did I notice any wax being removed.

"Surely I must have put the tip on wrong or something," I thought, so I went back to the manual, noticed I did everything right the first time and gave it another try. 

I even replaced the colored silicone tip. "Who knows?" I thought to myself sarcastically. "Maybe the pink one works better than the yellow one for some reason." 

And what happened when I tried the second time? Again, nothing. No suction feeling, no pulling sensation, nothing at all. 

On the manual it says if the debris and moisture don't come out in 30 seconds you should see a doctor. "So maybe my ear wax problem is too severe for the WaxVac," I said to myself. So I tried a completely different test.

On the TV commercial, the WaxVac picks up water and small pieces of debris from a countertop. So I tried to do the same thing.

I splashed a few drops of water on my bathroom counter, gathered a few pieces of lint and turned the machine on. Well, the drops of water didn't budge and as for the lint, it barely moved. 

The verdict

So what's the final verdict after using the WaxVac? Well, I'd have to say it's guilty, without a doubt. 

Based on my admittedly unscientified tests, it's guilty of being useless, guilty of giving people false hopes and guilty of being yet another dumb thing advertised on cable.

If you were thinking of buying a WaxVac think again, think twice before investing your hard-earned money. I mean, even if your money isn't hard-earned, think again. You could spend it on something else -- or just throw it out the window.

It's really a shame too, because having a miniature ear cleaner that could vacuum out the excess wax would be nice, since you wouldn't have to go to a doctor to have it done.

And as far as the WaxVac solving my particular ear problem, I'm making my ear, nose and throat appointment a little later today.

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