If you can hear this, quit sending me earwax ads!
Burt's Eye View
Like most aggravations, this one is my wife’s fault.
Whoops, that didn’t come out right. I am so going to hear about this.
Or maybe not.
That’s how the problem started. Terry’s such a soft talker that I miss the occasional word or two.
“It’s not occasional,” she signaled with semaphore flags.
Listen, if she wants me to take out the trash, pick up my socks or turn down the TV, she shouldn’t whisper. It’s aggravating.
As are the spate of ads suddenly jamming up my laptop and smartphone:
“Seniors Lose Memory to Earwax”
“Earwax Buildup Causes Balance Problems”
“Don’t Miss Her Call; Remove Earwax Safely Now”
They’re all accompanied by some of the grossest photos to ever churn my stomach.
How did I end up on earwax mailing lists? Targeted advertising.
It began last summer when Terry searched for sundresses online. Good old Google tracked the key clicks so that it could offer “helpful suggestions to match your interests.”
Unfortunately, the tracker couldn’t distinguish which human clacked the keyboard. So for the next six weeks, every time I logged in, I was greeted by great deals on sweet-and-sexy sundresses.
“This is your fault,” I groused at Terry. “Every time you browse for something, I get barraged by ads.”
“Sorry,” she mouthed.
But that glint in her eye spelled trouble. I suspect that my sweet wife searched dozens of earwax removal links with the expressed intent of clogging up my accounts with targeted hints about my hearing. All because I missed the occasional word or two.
“It’s aggravating,” she said.
So I’ve learned more about earwax than anyone needs to know. Besides muffling sounds, the gunk causes a multitude of problems, including itchiness, tinnitus and coughing. Yep, the waxy blockage stimulates a nerve in the ear that triggers the cough mechanism.
The inner ear tracks the body’s movements. If the ear canal is jammed, the ear can’t send balancing signals to the brain. Earwax causes people to fall. Some mood swings and cognitive declines can be traced to plugs between the ears and the brain.
But don’t you worry, Google knows what to do — become a human candelabra!
The ads show people lying on their side with lit candles sticking out of their ears. The companies proclaim cleaning candles gently remove earwax buildup. I think it looks more like a prank to procure crazy photos for Facebook and Twitter.
Other pop-up ads offer me ear-cleaning endoscopes that attach to my smartphone. Then I can see what lurks inside my ear.
Just no. There are parts of my body where probes need not go. Especially not one connected to a smartphone infested with ad-tracking spies.
I can see the pop-up now: “Ear Worm Remover Wipes That Baby Shark Song Out of Your Head.”
Hear me, social media ad trackers: Keep your fingers out of my ears. Now you’ve got my wife using sign language.
Terry’s fingers flew: “I hear you,” she signed. “Like most aggravations, this one is my husband’s fault.”
• Whisper loudly at Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Twitter.