You may have been using cotton buds (also called cotton swabs or Q-tips) to clean your ear canals for many years, but did you know that it isn’t a good habit? From the risk of puncturing your eardrums to getting your ear canals infected, there are many dangers when it comes to cleaning your ears with the use of the seemingly harmless cotton buds.

In this article, we’ll share with you all you need to know about cotton buds and cleaning your ears:

Creative ear-cleaning equipment

Did you know that cotton buds aren’t the only tool people use to clean their ears? Doctors have found that patients use straws, tweezers, hairpins, pens and pencils, and even toys! Whatever the item you’re using to clean your eyes with, nothing should ever enter inside your ear. This puts you at the risk of accidentally puncturing your eardrum and can even cause ear wax to build inside your ear.

Risk of puncturing eardrums

Eardrums are very fragile and can be easily damaged if an object touches it. Although they can heal after getting punctured, you definitely do not want to experience the pain of damaging one. It is very painful, and you may even start leaking fluids from the perforated eardrums. If it manages to heal, your hearing ability will not be fully restored, either.

That said, if you suddenly feel immense pain, feel liquid coming out, or experience a loss of hearing while cleaning your ears, find a doctor immediately. You’ve most likely punctured your eardrums and need to make sure your ears will heal properly and not get infected.

Cleaning your ears with cotton buds

The only place you need to clean your ears is the outer ear. You won’t need to use cotton buds either, as a simple application of warm soapy water and a cloth will work as effectively. As for your ear canal, you don’t have to clean it, as your body already has built-in mechanisms to help it get rid of excess wax and dirt. The skin inside your canal will grow outwards, carrying the ear wax with it. When you sleep, it will fall out. Because of this, grabbing some cotton buds to clean your ears isn’t required.

However, some people indeed do produce more ear wax than others. This can cause them to lose their hearing ability and, in some cases, even cause the ear to ache. This has led them to come up with a DIY cleaning solution, which, unknown to them, is actually creating more issues. 

If you’re experiencing a loss of hearing or pain due to such, you need to see a doctor immediately. They’ll use a mix of peroxide and water and pour it into the ear canal to clean your ear. If you are experiencing many buildups regularly, ask your doctor for tips on how you can maintain your ear at home.

Remember, don’t put any foreign objects into your ear. It won’t help you in any way, and will only put you at risk of further harm. Contact a doctor, or a hearing healthcare professional, to help address your ear-related issues and have it addressed the right way.

If you’re experiencing any problem with your hearing, come on down to Fraser Valley Beltone today! We’re a hearing clinic in Langley, BC. Get in touch today to book your appointment.