Hearing Blog

Refrain From Using Cotton Swabs for Ear-Cleaning Purposes

Refrain From Using Cotton Swabs for Ear-Cleaning Purposes

Refrain From Using Cotton Swabs for Ear-Cleaning Purposes

July 14, 2017

People have used cotton swabs to clean their ears for ages, which is strange, considering the warning sign on the package that clearly states that cotton swabs should NOT be used to clean the ear canal since it may cause injury. Despite this warning, people often use cotton swabs to clean their ears, which is why it is important to explore the reasons for refraining from this harmful practice.

The need for ear-cleaning arises from the assumption that earwax is inherently a bad thing. This belief is a fallacy, since earwax actually serves valuable protective purposes such as protecting your ear canal against dust, insects, and bacteria. It also prevents your ears from drying out and keeps them well lubricated. Earwax is your ear’s natural defense mechanism, thus it does not need to be disposed off unless its accumulation interferes with your hearing.

Cotton swabs actually do the opposite of cleaning your ears; they actually tend to push the earwax further into the ear canal. This may cause it to rub against your eardrum and cause long-term damage such as a perforated eardrum or permanent hearing loss.

Our ears have a natural way of cleaning themselves, which is why using cotton swabs is a redundant and unnecessary practice. Earwax tends to travel up and out of the ears once they have served their purpose through our natural facial movement of our jaws. Earwax reaches the outer ear and falls out by itself, and at most all you need to do is take a shower and gently clean your outer ear with a dry towel to remove the excess dead skin.

Cleaning out your earwax too frequently can lead to excessive dry skin and itchy ears which can lead to infections. This is yet another reason why the use of cotton swabs is not advisable. However, for those who have a large accumulation of earwax that disrupts hearing can visit a hearing specialist to get their ears cleaned professionally. It is not advisable to clean out your ears by yourself without expert advice, although there are over-the-counter cleaning solutions available to clean your ears by yourself at home.

To avoid any accidents or harmful practices, always obtain medical advice before cleaning your ears. It is always advisable to get your hearing tested if you sustain hearing difficulty over a period of time, to rule out hearing loss.