There are many people who swear by sticking a cotton swab (Q-Tip) into their ears to remove excess wax and debris. Anyone in the medical field can tell you, they have seen many catastrophes resulting from using cotton swabs. From punctured eardrums to super impacted wax, there are many negative consequences associated with “do-it-yourself” ear cleaning.
There are a number of items that people use to clean their ears. Some of the most interesting seen in the doctor’s office:
- Cotton swabs (Q-Tips)
- Hair pins
- Pens and pencils
- Paper clips
While this is only a partial list, it’s important to realize nothing should be placed inside the ear to remove dirt and debris. This is dangerous and could cause hearing loss or a damaged ear canal.
The ear canal has specialized cells that produce cerumen, commonly known as ear wax. For some people, ear wax accumulates much faster than others. This can lead to wax build-up that causes decreased ability to hear and in some instances, pain. As an easy way to avoid seeing a medical professional, many folks resort to using swabs to remove the excess wax. While this may seem like an excellent alternative to spending countless minutes waiting in a doctor’s office waiting room, using a cotton swab may do more harm than good.
The eardrum is easily reached with a swab. Because the eardrum is so delicate, it can be easily ruptured by using even the gentlest of pressure when using a swab. Ask anyone who has experienced a punctured eardrum – it isn’t a pleasant experience. The pain is quite severe and the ear may also leak a clear fluid.