This Is Why You Should NEVER Use Q-Tips To Clean Your Ears

January 6, 2017

There's a reason Q-Tips come with a warning to never use them in your ears — and it's about time we heeded the advice!

This warning has been ignored for decades and people continue to stick Q-Tips in their ears to remove ear wax. Unbeknownst to them, they could actually be making the problem worse.

do not clean ears with cotton swabs q tips
Getty Images

The American Academy of Otolaryngology's new guidelines for dealing with earwax, the first in almost a decade, stress that the wax is as beneficial as nose mucus or eyelashes and should be left alone as much as possible.

While it might seem icky, earwax traps dirt, dust, and other stuff that might get into our ears; the wax is slowly pushed outward by new skin growth and jaw movement and washed away with normal bathing, reports Reuters and CNN.

That means there's no reason to get rid of earwax with cotton swabs, your finger, or any other tool. Doing so is actually a really bad idea.

You might "push the wax in further, and there also is the potential for damage to the ear drum," says Dr. Seth Schwartz, who helped draft the new guidelines. You might also scratch the ear canal, which "can lead to pain and infection," he says. "Wiping away any excess wax when it comes to the outside of the ear is enough to keep it clean."

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