Yes, cleaning your ears with a Q-tip or cotton swab is unhealthy and unnecessary. With a swab you push in more earwax than you take out.
Delicious, such a Q-tip in your ear after you have showered. Just take a shower and it’s dry again. And if you have itching, such a cotton ball also gives relief. People from all over the world do it, according to various studies.
For example, there is this British study from 2009, in which researchers had patients from three general practices fill in surveys about their Q-tip use. Of the 239 people who completed the questionnaire, 68 percent said they sometimes stirred with a stick in their ear. 75% of them did so weekly or even more often. The reason? Mainly to remove earwax.
That swab doesn’t belong in your ear
Okay, so we almost all do it. To the great sadness of ear doctors. They see with sad eyes how we destroy our ears with this established use. Because you may think you are removing earwax with the cotton swab, but the opposite is true. All you do is push the wax inside, blocking the ear canal. Then you reach exactly the opposite of what you want.
But a blocked ear canal is not even the worst. It becomes more annoying if you (accidentally) push the cotton bud too far in and damage your eardrum. With a little bit of bad luck you permanently deteriorate your hearing with your cleaning drive.
Pieces of cotton can also remain in your ear. This is proven by a study at a New Zealand hospital. If cotton fibers get stuck in your ear, things start to inflame. Don’t you do anything about it? Then the inflammation can spread to the auricle. The skin becomes painful and can itch.
Dangers of Q-tips not known
Despite the fact that the packaging of the cotton sticks says not to put them in your ear, we keep doing it. Maybe not so strange, because that was exactly the goal of the man who invented the Q-tip in the early 1920s. The American Leo Gerstenzang saw his wife cleaning their baby’s ears with a toothpick with a ball of cotton on it. The idea of the cotton swab was born. With all kinds of ear problems as a result.
Ironically, we use Q-tips for complaints caused by the use of… cotton swabs. An itchy ear is a symptom of scraping your ears clean with Q-tips. So you soon end up in a vicious circle. Thank you Gerstenzang.
An itchy ear is a symptom of scraping your ears clean with Q-tips
Your earwax is very useful
What to do then? Nothing at all. The wax in your ear has a function. It keeps the ear canal clean by collecting dust and other dirt, so that it does not go deep into your ear. Moreover, the wax has an antibacterial effect. A surplus of earwax works its way out through vibrating hairs.
Do you still suffer from itching in your ear? Then try to stay away from it, no matter how difficult it is. And is the ear canal blocked? Call your doctor. He or she can spray it out again. By the way, you can use that swab for a lot of other purposes. Removing your mascara, for example, or your nail polish. As long as you never stick it in your ears again.