Dangers of using Q-Tips earwax

Every year, about 12 million Americans go to their healthcare provider with “affected or excessive cerumen,” meaning their ears are full of earwax. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, all of these checks lead medical professionals (aka ear candling specialists who aren’t corner salons) to perform about 8 million earwax removal procedures each year.

Purpose of earwax

The real purpose of earwax is to keep the ear canal clean. While too much, hard, or blocked earwax can be problematic, most earwax (earwax) is more beneficial. It is the normal protective coating for sensitive skin of the ear canal. A wax-coated ear canal repels water and helps prevent outer ear infections. Not only does earwax help keep dust and dirt away from the eardrum, but it also provides some antibacterial and lubricating benefits.

For most people, the ears are self-cleaning. Once the earwax dries, every jaw movement, whether chewing or talking, helps dislodge the old earwax from the opening in the ear. Your ears will be fragile when you scoop it out with a cotton swab.

The more you rub the skin of your ear, the more histamine is released, which in turn can make the skin inflamed and inflamed, just like the more mosquitoes bite and scratch it. Also, due to the lubricating properties of earwax, removing it will only make your ears drier, prompting you to keep sticking the swab in the earwax, which is the wrong attempt at relief.

Dangers of using cotton swabs

Cotton swabs (often called “Q-tips”) are often the preferred method for cleaning earwax from people’s ear canals, which may initially seem like a good idea unless you have a good understanding of anatomy and physiology.

Only the outer third to half of the ear canal produces cerumen (wax), which moisturises the skin and helps prevent foreign objects from entering deeper into the ear canal. The body also has hair, and the natural growth of the ear canal skin is from the inside out, so it is normal for the cerumen to “flow” out of the ear (very slowly).

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When people use cotton swabs, they often remove some of the wax, but also push some back into the deeper medial tube, preventing it from being removed very well. It can be pushed onto the eardrum (tympanic membrane) and cause a bump that can damage hearing, can lead to infection and can be painful/difficult to remove.

Think of a cotton swab as a plunger used to load a cannon. They push the softer earwax deep into the ear canal, where it fits snugly against the eardrum.

If you make a strong stopper with a cotton swab that stops the eardrum from moving properly, you can easily lead to some serious hearing loss. Water may also get trapped behind these homemade wax dams, and you may hear water moving in your ears.

The eardrum is fragile and can be punctured with a cotton swab. As if a punctured eardrum isn’t enough of a deterrent, if you touch the eardrum, you’re likely to press on the little auditory bones underneath – the hammer, anvil, and stirrups (incus, malleus, and stapes). They are the smallest bones in the body and they are just below the eardrum and attach to it. If you press them, it sends vibration waves to the inner ear (remember, the inner ear is responsible for hearing and balance). So if you tap your eardrum, you send shock waves to your inner ear and can cause problems with your hearing and balance.

When this happens, the ear needs to be rinsed with mild, warm water. Alternatively, you will need to see your audiologist or healthcare provider who can look inside your ear and remove the impaction professionally.

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How to Remove Excess Ear Wax at Home

if your eardrums Without tube or with holesthese home remedies are better options than cotton swabs:

  1. Soften wax. Use a dropper to put a few drops of baby oil, mineral oil, glycerin, or hydrogen peroxide in the ear canal twice a day for no more than four to five days.
  2. Use warm water. After a day or two, when the earwax has softened, use a rubber ball syringe to gently squirt warm water (body temperature) into the ear canal. Tilt your head and pull the outer ear up and back to straighten the ear canal. When you’re done irrigating, tilt your head to one side to let the water drain.
  3. Dry the ear canal. When you’re done, gently dry the outer ear with a towel or a hand-held hair dryer.

You may need to repeat this wax softening and rinsing procedure several times before the excess wax falls off. However, softeners may only loosen the outer layer of earwax and allow it to penetrate deeper into the ear canal or against the eardrum.

Consult your healthcare provider if your symptoms do not improve after several treatments.

Store-provided earwax removal kits are also effective at removing earwax buildup. If you’re not sure which one is right for you, talk to your audiologist or ear, nose and throat specialist about the proper use of other ear wax removal methods.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it bad to clean ears with cotton swabs?

    yes and no. It is safe to use a cotton swab to clean the outer folds of the ear, but the swab should not be placed in the ear canal. You can safely clean the outside of the ear canal with a cotton swab, but it should not go into the hole.

    Using a cotton swab in the ear can cause problems. Instead of cleaning the wax in the ear canal, using a cotton swab can push the wax further into the ear, putting pressure on the eardrum. Also, placing the swab too far into the ear can damage the eardrum.

  • Why does it feel good to clean ears with cotton swabs?

    Your inner ear is full of nerve endings. Putting a cotton swab into the ear canal stimulates these nerve endings, causing what is sometimes called an ear orgasm.

  • How can you remove wax from ears?

    To remove earwax from the inner ear, you’ll need a wax-softening agent and a rubber ball syringe. You can use ear drops, such as Debrox Ear Wax Removal Aid, or baby oil, mineral oil, glycerin, or hydrogen peroxide, and droppers.

    Put a few drops into the ear canal twice a day for up to five days. After a day or two, use the bulb sync feature to gently squirt warm water into your ears. Tilt your head to the side so that the ear you want to clean is facing up, then pull on the outer ear to straighten the ear canal. Then tilt your head in the other direction so that the ears are facing down to allow the water to flow. It may be helpful to place a bowl or plastic container under your ear to catch drips.

    If this doesn’t work or is too uncomfortable, you can also have your ear, nose and throat doctor clear your earwax. Doctors use a tiny vacuum cleaner like a tiny vacuum cleaner to remove the wax. The procedure is quick and painless.