Ear trumpets were early human's first attempt at coping with hearing problems. In pre-historic times, ear trumpets were simply hollowed-out horns of cows or rams. Later versions in wood and metal followed the same general contours as the natural horns. In later centuries, we continued to refine trumpets, experimenting with the acoustical properties of materials such as silver, shell, horn, artificial tortoise shell and more recently plastic.
In the 18th and 19th Centuries, it was common to fashion ear trumpets from metal covered with vulcanite (hard rubber), or from brass, and then paint them black. In either case, it was hoped that the black finish would make the hearing trumpet less conspicuous against dark clothing worn by the user.
Cerumen, commonly known as earwax, is genetically determined and has been used by anthropologists to track human migratory patterns.
Reiter’s Ear Kissing Syndrome (REKS) states that kissing on the aperture of the ear may create significant negative pressure at such a speed that it can damage the stapedial ligament, which connects the stapedial muscle to the stapes, and cause a tsunami of sorts in the inner ear fluids, damaging the delicate outer hair cells permanently. Affected people can suffer high frequency hearing loss, tinnitus and distortion of sound.
Dr Reiter’s recommendation is not to stop kissing, but be aware of REKS especially in newborns as they have very small ear canals.