Chances are, we’re all guilty of the notorious cotton-swab-clean, attempting to remove unwanted earwax or simply dry the ear canal. However, this method of earwax removal is actually very harmful to the ear, and could lead to a host of other challenges for ear health and wellness.
With the smallest bones in the human body residing right behind our ears, they can be broken simply by using a mere cotton swab.
In fact, this is one of the most dangerous ways to clean your ears! Not only is it ineffective (it pushes wax into the ear instead of pulling it out), but it can also damage your ear in more ways than one.
Here are just a few reasons we recommend laying off the cotton-swab-clean for your ear cleaning needs...
4 Solid Reasons Not to Use a Cotton Swab
1. You Can Puncture the Eardrum
noun | punc·ture \ˈpəŋk-chər\
- a hole or wound made by a sharp point
- a small hole in a tire that causes it to lose air
In laymen’s terms, you can literally poke a hole in your eardrum by using a cotton swab. Puncturing the eardrum can lead to a number of other problems. In many cases, this requires surgery to fix, and can cause permanent damage to your ear.
2. You Can Break the Auditory Ossicle
noun | os·si·cle \ˈä-si-kəl\
- a small bone or bony structure (as the malleus, incus, or stapes)
The malleus, incus, and stapes each belong to the auditory ossicle. Simply put: together, these 3 bones make up the small bony structure that lies right behind your ear canal. More fun facts on these tiny bones here. Moral of the story -- the bones behind the ear drum are the smallest bones in your entire body, and simply pushing on them with a cotton swab can break them! This can lead to dramatic effects... even hearing loss.
Again, please refrain.
3. The Cotton Swab Doesn't Actually Remove Earwax
Sorry to burst your bubble, but the cotton swab does not actually remove earwax from the ear canal. It is a completely ineffective method for earwax removal. Cotton swabs actually push the wax further into the ear canal, making the problem worse.
The main point -- These guys cause more harm than good, and can’t be trusted.
Think you know everything about ear cleaning?... Take our Myths About Ear Cleaning Quiz and see how you do!
4. Hearing Loss
The inner ear controls your hearing and balance.
By pushing against the ear drum with a cotton swab, you risk causing hearing and balance complications. The eardrum is very sensitive and is easily reached by using a cotton swab.
The problem? Too much pressure can cause a puncture as mentioned before, but can also lead to conductive hearing loss.
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