Good hygiene is essential to stay healthy. This is why it is recommended to practice regular grooming habits such as brushing your teeth and cleaning your ears.
However, when it comes to cleaning your ears with cotton swabs, you may damage your hearing and your eardrums if you don’t do it properly. In fact, using these cotton swabs may be more harmful than helpful when cleaning your ears. Other than being bad for ear cleaning, cotton buds also contribute to plastic pollution.
If you frequently experience ear blockage, it is best to seek the help of a medical professional for ear wax removal. However, when it comes to daily hygiene, it is best to let your ears handle the cleaning by themselves. This may even be better for your hearing.
Why are Cotton Buds Harmful to Your Ears?
While cotton buds may seem like the ideal length and shape for cleaning the ears, you can easily puncture your eardrum with a cotton swab.
It is prevalent for children to go too far into the ear canal with a cotton swab and puncture their eardrums. This can cause damage to the hearing, accumulation of fluids and bacteria, and painful infections.
Some cotton buds are also made from abrasive materials that can be harmful to people with sensitive skin within the ears. Cotton swabs made of paper or plastic sticks can puncture fragile areas in the ear and cause infections, vertigo, or even permanent deafness.
Is Cleaning Your Ears Counterproductive?
Instead of removing the ear wax from your ear, a cotton swab just compacts and pushes your earwax further down the ear canal. This can cause serious problems such as clogged ear wax blockages that can be harder to remove and affect your hearing.
Regularly wearing hearing protection such as earplugs can also push wax back into your ear, so using cotton swabs to clean your ears may just compound this into a more severe problem.
How the Ears Can Clean Themselves
Earwax or cerumen is not all that bad. It is an essential part of the ear environment that coats the fragile cells in the inner ear. This ear wax traps dust and debris that can potentially damage the delicate structures in the ear necessary for hearing.
The body naturally moves the earwax out of the ear through movements such as chewing, yawning, or skin cell growth inside the ear.
Alternative Ways to Clean Your Ears
Instead of risking earwax blockage with cotton swabs, you may consider the following alternatives for cleaning your ears:
- Using a Moistened Cotton Ball: Break down the earwax with a cotton ball with mineral oil, olive oil, or saline solution.
- Using Cleaning Drops: There are over-the-counter ear drops that are either water-based or oil-based.
- Getting Help from a Professional: You can consult with an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor for recommendations to safely remove your earwax.
While it is essential to practice grooming and good hygiene practices to stay healthy, cleaning your ears with cotton swabs may be doing more harm than good. Cotton swabs put you at risk of puncturing your eardrums or compacting your earwax.
You may want to consider using alternative methods or seek help from a professional to ensure clear ears and protect your hearing.
Are you looking for hearing health solutions in Australia to help you with protecting your ears from earwax blockage? We at CH Care offer different wax removal techniques for safe and comfortable results. Give us a call to learn more!