Why You Should Never, Ever Clean Your Ears With Cotton Buds Again

Health News
3 min read
Why You Should Never, Ever Clean Your Ears With Cotton Buds Again

There are some people who swear by cotton buds to clean their ears – it is the closest they get to an orgasm without taking off their clothes! But like all good things in life, it is not right for you. Read the earful facts below and you’ll never want to bring the bud close to yourself ever again:


Earwax is There For Protection

Bet that was your reaction too. (Photo: The Quint)

Yes that gross gunk, medically known as cerumen, is there to protect your ear canal. It was meant to be there and it shields your eardrums from dirt, dust, water and bacteria. And your ears clean themselves; basically, the earwax is like a self-cleaning oil which takes care of all the smut that’s in your ears.

When you stick pencils, nails or buds, the bacteria and fungus move to the inner parts of your eardrums and dangerous infections can form. Trust me, ear ache is worse than heartache, so don’t screw it up for yourself.

Cotton Buds Can Give Infections When You “Clean” Your Ears

You’re introducing all sorts of “dirty” when you clean your ears, even though it’s in a more civilised manner than the guy above. (Photo courtesy: Reactions Gifs)

Every year more than 7,000 people get injured by cotton swab injuries in the ear in England alone – that’s far more than injuries caused by razors and blades. (No such figures are available for India).

Doctors have been trying to discourage people from using cotton buds because they can damage the eardrum and push the earwax deeper into the ear where it gets stuck in parts which don’t clean themselves. Earwax trapped there can block the ear canal, lead to hearing loss, or rupturing of the ear drum!

Clearly no one’s listening.


Without EarWax Your Ears Will Shrink

Seriously? (Photo: YouTube/MRW)

Like most other bodily secretions, earwax has antibacterial properties, and whether you like the idea or not, it is your body’s equivalent of Vaseline for the ears. If there was no wax, your ears would be cracked, dry and painful.

In fact, the wax is such a cool moisturiser that during the Victorian era, people used it as a kind of lip balm! (eeew... but you get the drift?)

Cotton Swabs Can Get Stuck In Your Ears

(Photo: YouTube/LombokVideos)

It is not rare for cotton buds to get stuck inside your ears. Sometimes you might not even realise that threads of cotton are nesting up some gross fungi for weeks in there. Truly, this is the stuff of nightmares.


And This Is the Right Way to Unclog Your Ears

(Photo: The Quint)

As much as you love the eargasm from buds, if you have the will power, wean yourself of cotton swabs. Instead, clean your ears with:

  • Over-the-counter ear drops to soften the excess wax.
  • Dab a few drops of olive oil or coconut oil mixed with hydrogen peroxide in each ear to bubble out the excess wax.
  • Mix one teaspoon olive oil, with a teaspoon of alcohol and a few drops of water and put in each ear.
  • Try ear scoops, these are different from ear buds – given their shape, the scoop can’t push the wax further in the ear.
  • Make an appointment with an ENT specialist to get the wax extracted – twice a year should be good.

So there you have it, be it buds, your nails or pencils, don’t go shoving anything in your ears.

Also Read: 7 Ways Your Smartphone is Ruining Your Health

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