These ‘Headphones’ Are Actually For Clearing Out Excess Earwax

Struggling to keep your wireless earbuds clean? You can buy cleaning kits for AirPods that come with purpose-built tools for getting rid of earwax, or you can deal with the problem at the source with a device that looks like an over-sized pair of headphones, but is actually a washing machine for your ears.

Believe it or not, the wax in your ears is actually there for a good reason. Produced in the ear canal by glands that excrete an oil called cerumen, ear wax helps to trap dust, dirt, small objects, and even germs and bacteria from entering the ear, while also serving as a protective layer for the delicate skin forming the ear canal. It’s a good thing, but as with most good things, too much can actually be bad, and blockage from a buildup of ear wax is one of the leading causes of hearing loss.

Despite what you were told growing up, tools like Q-Tips aren’t the best way to remove ear wax, and can instead end up pushing a buildup deeper in the ear canal, exacerbating the problem. The better approach is using liquids, usually delivered from a syringe, which help to soften and flush out earwax. But it can be a messy job. The OtoSet Ear Cleaning System takes the same approach, but with a design that keeps all of the mess contained and easy to clean up.

To most people, the OtoSet Ear Cleaning System looks like a giant pair of headphones, almost similar in size to the Dyson Zone air-purifying headphones, but they don’t connect to a smartphone and the only sounds they produce are the trickle of liquid and the hum of a small suction-producing pump.

Each side features two clear chambers, with the top chamber being filled with a liquid solution that flows into the wearer’s ears through disposable ear tips. The solution breaks down the earwax while the suction draws it, and the liquid, back out of the ear and into the lower chamber. The chamber is also a fully recyclable waste container, so thankfully, no one gets tasked with having to clean it out afterwards.

Although it looks like anyone could use the OtoSet Ear Cleaning System by themselves, it’s actually an FDA-cleared device designed for “use by healthcare professionals only.” And that probably helps explain its price tag. If you thought the $949 Dyson Zone headphones were pricey, the OtoSet Ear Cleaning System sells for $3,059, or $2,753 if you buy it as part of a one-year bundle that includes enough disposable ear tips to “treat up to 240 ears.” So if you’re only interested in this device as a way to keep your earbuds clean, maybe just stick with mineral oil or ear drops.