Whether or not you have heard of the dangers of using cotton swabs in your ears, it is still a common mistake that many people make. It seems like cotton swabs would be the only logical way to clean out earwax, water, and dirt. Although having clean ears prevents infection, cotton swabs are not the best choice for three big reasons.
Cotton swabs are counter-intuitive because it seems like they are designed to get earwax out of your ears when, in reality, they only push it deeper. And since your ears are naturally producing ear wax, using cotton swabs only back them up worse. Having a little ear wax in your ears is safe and healthy, but when it builds up too much and keeps getting pushed back by cotton swabs, then it becomes impacted. Impacted earwax clogs your ears and it can be uncomfortable, painful, and even damaging.
Ears Are Naturally Self-Cleaning
Even though earwax looks gross and bad for your ears, it’s actually very beneficial. In fact, ear wax is part of what is responsible for keeping your ears clean. Ear wax is made up of a complex blend of natural enzymes, fatty acids, and skin cells that push out foreign contaminants. It protects your inner ear by trapping dirt and dust. Ear wax can even block out rogue nasties like germs and bugs. Over time the earwax will shed from your ears on its own. Once it gets to the edge of your ear is when it is safe to remove it with a soft cloth, but using cotton swabs inhibits this process.
Your inner ears are very sensitive. Poking, prodding, and digging through them with a cotton swab is too rough and could cause injuries like scratching or puncturing the eardrum. This is why children should not be subjected to cotton swabs because an eardrum injury at such a young age could mean lifelong damage to their hearing. If ear wax buildup becomes a problem, then you should talk to a doctor, like an audiologist, who knows how to remove it safely.
Contact Bay Area Audiology Today!
Ready to change the way you look at hearing loss? Our Doctor of Audiology, Dr. Trisha A. Bents Muth, is exceptionally experienced in the art of audiology and is dedicated to providing the absolute best solutions. Bay Area Audiology has been working to give patients a comfortable environment, with thorough evaluations. We are independently owned, and unbiased when it comes to finding you the care you need.
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