Why cotton swabs should not be used to clean earwax

Why cotton swabs should not be used to clean earwax

Last Reviewed : 12/17/2020
Why cotton swabs should not be used to clean earwax

According to the Journal of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, cotton swabs are not appropriate for earwax removal. They recommend not to put anything smaller (like cotton swabs, keys, hairpins, tooth picks etc) than your elbow in your ear. The reasoning is that they have the potential to cause cuts in ears, perforate ear drums and dislocate hearing bones. This may result in hearing loss, dizziness, and ringing sensation in ears.

Function of the earwax


Wax acts as a lubricant; it helps in cleaning the ear. It also holds the minute objects/articles which enter the ear canal. In addition to those functions, earwax keeps dirt and dust away from the ear canal. That’s not all; it also possesses anti-bacterial properties. With the help of chewing and jaw movements, wax will reach the external ear. During bathing, wax will be washed away.

Cleaning the ear with swabs

Earcanal is rich with nerve ending, which is the stimulation that can give you the pleasure of orgasm. Many of them use pins and buds to enjoy the pleasure of getting stimulated. If swabs are usedfor cleaning the ear, then they further push the wax towards the eardrum, leading to impaction of wax in the ear. It sure has an adverse effect. With respect to the negative effect, many times it damages the eardrum. Moreover, the swabs are not sterile and harbor lot of bacteria. Not to mention that the well-known fact that they have the potential to introduce infection into the ear canal.




Seth R. Schwartz, M.D., MPH, Anthony E.Magit, MD, MPH, Richard M. Rosenfeld, MD, MPH, Bopanna B. Ballachanda, PhD, Jesse M. Hackell, MD, Helene J.Krouse, PhD, RN, Claire M. Lawlor, MD, Kenneth Lin, MD, MPH, Kourosh Parham, MD, PhD, David R. Stutz, MD, SandyWalsh, Erika A. Woodson, MD, KenYanagisawa, MD, Eugene R.Cunningham, Jr, MSClinical Practice Guideline (Update): Earwax (Cerumen Impaction) Otolaryngology–Headand Neck Surgery Vol 156, Issue 1_suppl, pp. S1 - S29


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