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Using earbuds or cotton buds as many know it to be is a common practice. Many use them to clean out wax from the ears. It’s something everyone has done at some point.

It is habitual like brushing teeth. Many enjoy the tingling feeling they get when using cotton buds in their ears.

However, health care professionals advise against using a bud to clean earwax.

Earwax is composed of layers of skin, fatty acids, cholesterol, and alcohol all designed to protect the inner ear from water and infections. It also helps prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi in the inner ear.

In most cases, the ear canal does not need to be cleaned. The skin in the ear canal naturally grows in an outward, spiral pattern.

As it slips off, ear wax goes with it. Most of the time the wax will loosen and be absorbed by the body. Thus, the need for a cotton swab becomes absolutely unnecessary.


Here are six reasons why you shouldn’t use cotton buds to clean out wax from your ears:

Ear wax serves a protective purpose for the ears


Ear wax is there for a reason. It protects your ear canal from dust, microorganism, and foreign particles. It also lubricates the skin of your ears and prevents infections due to its antibacterial properties.

Ears have its’ own wax removal mechanisms


The ears have their own mechanisms for cleaning out the wax. Usually, ears get cleaned when you take a shower. As water and soap enter the ears, it loosens the accumulated ear wax and aids the loosened wax to come out on its own.

The skin present in the ears grows in a spiral pattern so when the dead skin is shed, the ear wax also comes out with it.

The wax is also pushed out due to a person’s jaw movements like chewing, yawning, and talking.

Cotton buds push wax further into the ears


Using cotton buds to clean the other part of the ears is cool but not the inner part. When you attempt to do this, you end up pushing the wax further down into the ear canal.

Sometimes, with the earwax, you are also pushing down foreign particles present in them. More so, you are also driving the wax against the eardrum in the process.


This can lead to problems like ear pain and loss of hearing. By using a cotton bud you are creating more issues for your organs (ears) and senses (hearing) than forestalling one.

Pushing the wax further down the ear carnal can cause earwax blockage

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As you continue using cotton buds to clean your ears, you keep pushing the wax further down the ear canal, this can ultimately result in earwax blockage.

Earwax blockage can in turn lead to dizziness, itching, pain in the ears and eventual loss of hearing.


Excessive removal of ear wax can lead to dryness

As mentioned earlier, ear wax also lubricates the skin of your ears. So, when you remove the wax, the skin becomes dry and itchy. More importantly, your ears will also become more prone to infections.


The delicate nature of the ear drum

Because the eardrum is so delicate, it can be easily ruptured if a cotton bud is accidentally pushed too deep.

Sometimes during the cleaning of the ear canal, somebody could come along and hit the ear.

At this moment the ear canal might experience trauma and it can also lead to the bleeding of the ear resulting in complications that could eventually damage one of your crucial sensory organs.


Note: Although, there are persons who have heavy wax build-up, a trip to the doctor may be needed.

Doctors can easily remove ear wax with a suction machine. The process is virtually painless and is very effective in removing impacted wax.

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