Hi MJsMom:

Wow I was 6 too when I failed also...

I had lots of trouble at school when I first started, always getting my work wrong, and my mother was told to take me to an ENT specialist...I was going deaf in my left ear, as my eardrum was perforated from all the skin blocking it...

Over a few years I had 3 general anasthetics to remove the skin and wax that had gone too far down the canal for the ENT doctors to flush them sufficiently.

Thereafter for many years, I regularly had my ears flushed out, as Shauna described, and yes, olive oil is excellent for softening...put in at bedtime, with cotton wool to hold it in, and clean in morning,...

Someone else on here said it is good to keep pouring warm water into the ears, to soften/loosen the skin also...and it works great...

You will be pleased to know that the perforated eardrums can heal themselves with time, (if that was to ever happen, fingers crossed it doesn't)...

I now however have some permanent hearing loss in my left ear, although it is a result of having osteosclerosis, which is some fusing of the 3 minute bones in the canal, that vibrate to trasmit sound waves into audible sound for the inner ear to translate...

I am not sure if Osteosclerosis is related to Ichthyosis, the ear specialist did ask me...

Be very careful forcing wax and stuff out with cotton tips, as it can irritate our skin inside, and cause a throbbing pain, and sometimes a discharge...

Pauline