The usual habit and hygiene routine of many of us is actually deemed useless and even dangerous by doctors; that according to an updated clinical guidelines published in the journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
Cotton swabs that we often use to clean our ears are in fact not appropriate for earwax removal. Apparently, it can do more harm than good because cotton buds and other objects like hair pins and toothpicks can cause cuts in our ear canals, perforate ear drums or even dislocate hearing bones.
In the United States alone, 12,500 children made trips to the emergency room due to cotton swabs related injury. Most cases happen when children try to clean their ears on their own.
According to Dr. Kris Jatana, assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the Ohio State University, “This is not like brushing your teeth every day. Children and adults do not need to clean out the ear canal of wax as part of a routine hygiene practice.”
Most cotton swabs push the wax farther into the ear where it essentially gets trapped. Naturally, ear canals are self-cleaning and the earwax would eventually move outside where it is washed off during bathing.
Earwax is naturally produced by our bodies to keep ear canals lubricated. It also protects our ears from dirt, dust and anything else that might enter it.
Here are some guidelines to keep your ears healthy:
– Consult a health professional if you are suffering from cerumen impaction or earwax buildup. This normally occurs among the elderly, but can also happen if the ear’s self-cleaning process doesn’t work very well.
– Do not overclean your ears. Excessive cleaning may even increase earwax impaction. Wiping away any excess wax outside the ear is enough to clean it.
– Do not use ear candles. There is no evidence that they can remove impacted cerumen and may even cause ‘serious damage.’
– Home therapies, ranging from over-the-counter wax-softening drops and other home-use irrigators are safe and effective. Even drops of water in the ear can be effective to soften ear wax.
Though, cleaning our ears with cotton swabs had been a habit for all of us. It is time to break the old misconception and acknowledge the fact that we had been doing something against our natural body process. Share this knowledge to your friends and family to spread awareness.
Source: CNN Health – http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/11/health/ear-cleaning-cotton-swab-injury-study/
Sage Journals – http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0194599816671491