Why Cotton Swabs are Not the Right Ear Cleaners

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Many people use a cotton swab to remove debris and excess earwax and you’re probably one of them. Unfortunately, medical experts advise it is time to avoid cotton swabs, since they will also cause problems for your ears. Several catastrophes could arise, including punctured eardrums and gravely impacted earwax.

You surely don’t want a damaged ear canal and you don’t want to lose your sense of hearing, which is why you shouldn’t insert anything to your ear. DIY ear cleaning is dangerous even though you think it’s the most convenient way.

Earwax and Ear Canal

Your ear canal has cells that can produce cerumen, which you call earwax. Some people tend to accumulate earwax much speedier than others. If they don’t do something about it, the buildup can cause reduced hearing ability. For some, the earwax accumulation can result to pain. This is why people turn to cotton swabs to get rid of the excess wax and avoid seeing a doctor. Of course, this seems a good alternative to seeking medical help, but it actually does more harm than good.

The Eardrum

One of the main reasons why you shouldn’t use a swab is because you want to protect your eardrum. Sticking a cotton bud to your ear can easily reach your eardrum, which is a very delicate part of your ear. When this happens, even the gentlest of pressure can rupture your eardrum and can puncture it. This unpleasant experience can give you severe pain and your ear could leak clear fluid.

If you have punctured your eardrum, don’t panic because it will still heal. However, it takes several days to weeks and can even result to conductive hearing loss.

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How to Clean Your Ears

Since you shouldn’t use cotton swabs, you’re probably wondering about the right way to clean your ears or whether or not you should clean them at all. The answer to this can be quite confusing because it can be both a yes and a no.

Yes, you should clean your ears, particularly the outer ear – the part that you can see. This area needs a good cleaning regularly and you can keep it healthy by using a washcloth, water, and soap. On the other hand, you shouldn’t clean your ear canal in most cases. When you wash your hair or you shower, water already enters your ear canal that can help loosen the wax in your ear. Aside from that, your ear canal’s skin grows outwardly in a spiral pattern. As the skin grows, your earwax goes with it, so the wax can fall out while you sleep without needing your help.

As you can see, cotton swabs are not really necessary. If you have heavy earwax build-up, you shouldn’t turn to the swabs. Instead, visit a doctor who can remove the wax using a solution with a bit of water and peroxide. This solution will be injected into the ear. Although it may sound scary, it is actually almost painless and very effective.

If impacted earwax becomes a common problem for you, you can ask your physician to help you perform DIY cleaning at home. Most doctors will recommend the use of a solution consisting of rubbing alcohol, tap water, and white vinegar all in equal parts. As long as you don’t insert swabs or anything in your ear, you can keep it healthy.


Why Cotton Swabs are Not the Right Ear Cleaners

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