I’m sure we’ve all been told not to use Q-Tips or at least not to put them far into our ears but how else are we supposed to clean them?!
Ears are naturally developed to be protective and self-cleaning. The wax (cerumen) coats the ear canal and serves to repel water and help protect it against infection or injury. It also aids in keeping the skin inside the ears from drying out or getting itchy in addition to trapping dust, germs and other unwanted things from reaching into the depths of our ears.
In truth we should probably just leave our ears alone and let nature take it’s course. Maybe this would be okay for me if I wasn’t introduced to q-tips and what seemed like their ONLY function was. I mean when someone asks you what you’re supposed to do with a q-tip what do you think of? Maybe it’s cleaning your computer keyboard or using them as makeup brushes because that’s exactly what’s on the back of some of the boxes. Or maybe you’re like me and thought it’s sole purpose is for ear digging!
Now I’ve been scolded and told all the same by my mother while growing up and my girlfriend too, but let’s be honest: How can something that works and feels so good be so wrong?! Well it’s about the potential damage to your eardrum in addition to accidentally pushing wax further into your ear. If wax went too far down you’d have to get it removed by a professional and it might not be the most comfortable thing to do.
Regardless of it feeling good using cotton swabs, it is in fact dangerous and even Q-Tips themselves say not to use them in your ear canal. It’s all about being careful because the last thing you want to do is damage the lining or eardrum by accident. Even washing the outside of your ears is supposed to be avoided. If you must clean them, either use a soft washcloth with a tiny bit of soap or even use Ear candles. Make sure to dry the ears well as not to get them infected and attract the well known “swimmers ear” especially if you are in the water a lot.
You can check out the following to learn about hearing protection for musicians.
Personally I can’t help but carefully use the standard q-tips for my ears, but for those more adventurous and wanting a “safer” way to clean your ears, read on. I did some research on some alternatives and although it seems a bit silly, it would in fact do the trick.
Create A Wax Softening Solution
You can buy a carbamide peroxide cleaning solution from the local pharmacy or you can always make your own.
Combine warm water with one of the following:
- A teaspoon or two of 3-4% hydrogen peroxide solution
- A teaspoon or two of mineral oil
- A teaspoon or two of glycerin
Lie on your side if possible so the ear is completely vertical and put in the solution with an applicator if possible or a small bowl. (Peroxide may cause popping or bubbling sounds so don’t be alarmed, this is normal)
Wait 5-10 minutes or if using peroxide, until the bubbling stops.
Take out the solution and use a rubber bulb syringe with lukewarm water to flush out the wax.
Pull on the ear lobe up and down to open the canal to release the last bit of wax.
You can repeat this process for a few days if necessary but shouldn’t do it more often than this.
See A Specialist
If you’re serious about cleaning your ears safely and are not interested whatsoever in using the home remedy route, then you should consult your doctor or get a professional to take care of it for you. In addition if you suffer from repeat problems, hearing loss or blockage you should seek help from a doctor.
When it’s all said and done, the point is to be careful and avoid causing any harm to your ear canal. The last thing you want to do is permanently damage your ears or have a hard time listening to words, sounds and music!
Do you use Q-Tips in your ears?
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