Earbuds increased by 72% in 2020 // 2019
What’s happened to bring earwax onto the nation’s radar? A big clue could be found in how our ways of living and working have changed since COVID. More and more people were using earbud headphones while working from home, staying indoors or taking up exercise and routine GP visits and removal services were put on hold.
Comparing search data from 2019 with 2021, we saw some interesting changes to suggest this was having an impact on people’s ears:
Impacted earwax searches increased by 94%
My ear has been clogged for a month increased by 1554%
Clogged eustachian tube increased by 358%
My ear is clogged increased by 257%
What’s the impact?
When earwax builds up and gets impacted, it creates a lovely environment for bacteria, which is great for them, but can ultimately lead to an ear infection. These increased searches (comparing 2019 and 2021) suggest that waxy ears were on the rise:
Increase in ‘ear infection symptoms in adults’ searches
Increase in ‘ear infection treatment’ searches
Increase in ‘ear infection symptoms’ searches
People were also paying more attention to the colour of their earwax. Earwax colour can tell us quite a lot about ear health, and with increased searches for particular colours (comparing 2019 and 2021 data), this could indicate that people were searching for infection symptoms without realising:
Increase in ‘black earwax’ searches
Increase in ‘blood in earwax’ searches
Increase in ‘green earwax’ searches
Increase in ‘red earwax’ searches
Where’s the waxiest town in the UK and Ireland?
The moment you’ve been dying to hear about – in the UK and Ireland we collected the most wax from the people of Weston-super-Mare and Dublin respectively. A crowning achievement we’re sure will go down in their books.
But it wasn’t just Weston-super-Mare and Dublin supplying the goods last year. Fans of a fun fact will be excited to hear that overall, we collected a whopping 120 litres of the stuff. If you’d rather not think about a giant vat of earwax, that also works out as the same weight as a tiger. Or six beavers. Or 120 meerkats.
Which cities were waxing lyrical about earwax?
With lots of earwax-related searches going on, it’s interesting to see particular towns across the UK and Ireland had some very specific queries.
Click the green dots in the map above to see the where the waxiest searches were coming from.