The use of cotton swabs has been the most conventional and the most accepted way of cleaning the ear canal. However, professionals suggest that this way, among others, is not safe and rather ineffective.
Cleaning the ears is not necessary
Otolaryngologists and audiologists in Minneapolis say the ears are, in fact, able to “look after themselves” in terms of cleaning. So most people do not need their ears cleaned.
The cerumen or the yellowish substance more popularly known as earwax, produced by the ears is enough to coat the ear canal to keep it from growing fungus and microorganisms. The skin grows outward which brings out the cerumen from the ear canal to the outer surface of the ears.
All they need to do is to wipe the cerumen off their outer ear with a clean cloth.
But some people do not listen
People still choose to do otherwise. Maybe out of habit, they continually practice the unmistakable mistakes when cleaning their ears.
- Cotton swabs. If anything, cotton swabs only push the cerumen into the eardrum which may cause an injury or impaction.
- Other sharp objects. Aside from cotton swabs, there are other things people use to clean their ears or simply to relieve itching like inserting their pinky finger or hairpins.
- Scheduled cleaning. Some clean their ears every day after bathing, twice in a week, or as often as they like it which may lead to abrasions in the canal.
- Candles. People believe this is safe, except for the fact that it highly can cause ear perforations and hairs catching fire.
- Syringe. This is safe and doctor-recommended. What makes it dangerous is that people do it blindly without somebody else to guide them.
Some do tend to produce more cerumen than others, which when unattended, may lead to accumulation of the cerumen. The best is to set an appointment with a professional who can perform a manual ear cleaning to avoid risks of having a blockage, an ear infection, or damaged hearing.