While it is safe to clean the outside of your ears using Q-Tips or cotton swabs, it can be dangerous to use them in the inside of your ear. Using Q-tips inside of your ear canal can result in injury, impacted ear wax, ear infections, itchy ears and hearing loss.
Earwax is actually helpful to your ears! It keeps them from getting too dry, traps dirt, and prevents bacteria from going deeper into your ear canal. Over time, earwax naturally migrates to the outside of the ear where it can be cleared away.
Using a warm wash cloth instead of q-tips helps to safely remove the wax closer to the outside of your ear canal.
In this video, you can see what happens when you using Q-Tips. Often the Q-Tips push wax further down the ear canal, where it can become impacted. This makes it more difficult to remove the ear wax in the future.
What else should I avoid?
In addition to cotton swabs, there are other ear cleaning methods to avoid. This includes ear candling and commercially available suction devices. Remember, the safest way to have excess earwax removed is by a healthcare provider.
Injuries related to Q-Tip use
Inserting a Q-Tip too far can result in a ruptured ear drum, or damage to the small bones that are located just behind the ear drum.
Earwax helps trap and slow the growth of bacteria that have entered your ear canal. Using a cotton swab can push earwax and the bacteria it contains farther into your ear, potentially leading to an ear infection
When to make an appointment?
Make an appointment with us, if you experience any of the following symptoms:
-Ears that feel plugged
-Ringing in your ears (tinnitus)
-Dizziness or vertigo