Your Ears and Q-Tips
The Use of Q-Tips
The external ear canal produces cerumen (oil), which extrudes itself toward the entrance of the ear canal. As it does this, cerumen collects debris and dead skin and hair, dries out, and becomes ear wax.
Many people believe they are cleaning their external ear canals through the use of q-tips. What in fact is happening, is that cerumen which is in the process of extrusion toward the entrance of the ear canal is pushed back up into the depths of the ear canal. This then in turn causes a build up of wax in the ear canal.
So, rather than cleaning your ear canals via use of a q-tip, you are actually doing the opposite.
Further detrimental use of q-tips includes (but is not limited to)
- Risk of laceration of the sensitive skin of the ear canal (which then may become infected given the ear canal is host to multitude of bacteria residing in cerumen and ear wax),
- ear wax occlusion of the ear canal
- Tympanic membrane (ear drum) perforation
- Hearing loss
A better method of cleaning your ear canals is the introduction of water while bathing or showering. Ask us – we’re always happy to explain how to do this.