Hardly any other hygiene product is perceived as controversial in society: a cotton swab, also known as Q-Tip. On the one hand, it is clearly not intended to clean the ear canal, but rather to force the earwax deeper. Despite the warnings on the packaging, it is still the most widely used. People obviously need to clear earwax from their ear canals. Electronic company Pearl, a mail order company, introduces an ear cleaner under its own brand newgen medicals, which allows you to transfer live ear recordings to your mobile phone via WLAN. IMTEST tested the ear cleaner and asked the doctor about the benefits and risks of the device.
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Earwax as a cleaning agent
To understand how the device works, first a few words about earwax. An unappetizing-sounding substance is nothing more than a self-cleaning mechanism in the ear canal that protects it from bacteria, dust and dirt. If this function is missing, for example from washing too often, earaches appear. Earwax production varies from person to person, and the anatomy of the ear canal also affects earwax build-up, which is often found irritating. The crux of the matter is that it’s virtually impossible to get a close look at the condition of the ear – and potentially earwax – without technical assistance or a medical examination. Apart from a cotton swab, your only option would be to remove the earwax with a damp cloth. Pearl has developed a solution to this problem and launched a cordless ear cleaner.
The device is 17.3 centimeters long and fits like a pen in the hand. The handle of the ear cleaner is made of plastic, from which a thin tube emerges with a tiny metal or silicone spoon. The attachments are interchangeable and ten silicone attachments are included for hygienic reuse. The device weighs 49 grams and has a micro-USB port at the end. According to the instructions, the ear cleaner should be fully charged before use to run for 50 minutes.
An ear cleaner with a Full HD camera
If you turn on the ear cleaner using the on / off button in the center of the handle, the light comes on. According to the manufacturer, it consists of six white LEDs and helps to recognize everything even in the dark ear canal. Because great enlightenment only comes after installing an application called Bebird on your smartphone. No registration is required for this, but a connection to a 2.4 GHz WLAN network is required. Once configured, nothing stands in the way of self-control. Indeed: the transmitted image has a high resolution and even the smallest hairs and pores are clearly visible. According to the manufacturer, it is a Full HD camera with a resolution of 3 megapixels and a viewing angle of 73 degrees.
In the application, you can make and save both an image and a video of the tested object. The 10x zoom and background music make the fun fun, but add no value. The handle gets warm during operation, but the operating time of the camera, according to our own measurements, is up to 55 minutes. At first glance, the plastic cap is more suitable for actual cleaning as the metal spoon does not conform to the ear canal. Once the ear cleaner has done its job, just close the app and turn off the light. It cannot be stored outside of the original packaging, a hygienic bag or something similar would be needed.
“Some people need support.”
Medical evaluation is essential to determine the benefits and possible risks. IMTEST collaborated with dr. Medical I spoke to Susanne Thrull from Itzehoe. The doctor is generally positive about the ear cleaner. For them, it depends on the individual condition of the ear canal. “Some people need a little support to look after them. Before someone wants to go to professional ear cleaning and has to wait for an appointment, it is worth getting acquainted with such a device. ” In the first place, injuries can be avoided with a camera, such as the one in the Pearl WLAN ear cleaner. Miss Dr. Thrull himself uses cotton swabs on a daily basis and, with careful use, finds them useful for most people. “But since injuries to the ear canal happen time and time again, you shouldn’t stop taking medical advice.”
Whether the ear cleaner is suitable for earwax removal now, you have to decide on your own responsibility. However, other use cases may be interesting enough to obtain such a device. Of course, you can also examine all other areas that are otherwise not easily accessible or visible, such as moles, tick bites, or wounds in the mouth. Pearl also advertises the use of the device in modeling to be able to recognize the details.
After all, it is always an individual decision of what equipment you will use to meet your body. However, the diverse application areas of the ear cleaner make it a helpful household tool. A small drawback: the Bebird app is absolutely essential for the operation, so the smartphone must always be at hand. The WiFi ear cleaner costs EUR 79.90 at pearl.de and is currently available at a reduced price of EUR 39.90.