Don’t use Q-tips, your ears can clean themselves | health and fitness | Hindustan Times
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Don’t use Q-tips, your ears can clean themselves

Doctors warn against introducing a foreign object into your ears. This includes not only Q-tips but also hairpins, pencils, untwisted paper clips and what not. Why? Because you are causing more harm to your ears than you’d think.

health and fitness Updated: Feb 02, 2017 14:49 IST
Soumya Srivastava
Using earbuds to clean your ears may do you more harm than good.
Using earbuds to clean your ears may do you more harm than good.(Shutterstock)

One of the best things that our opposable thumbs allow us to do is not make fire or write but to hold a cotton swab in our fingers, bring it to our ears and experience the greatest sensation known to any species.

Some of you may call that a massive hyperbole but it doesn’t take away from the fact that scratching your ear is indeed very pleasurable. But, like all good things, it comes at a severe cost.

According to a recent study published by the American Academy of Otolaryngology, doctors have warned against introducing a foreign object into your ears. This includes not only Q-tips but also hairpins, pencils, untwisted paper clips and what not. Why? Because you are causing more harm to your ears than you’d think.

Using earbuds can cause gross infections. (Shutterstock)

Poking your earwax with cotton swabs dislodges it from its proper place and then it gets all rolled up into a big pile which gets further pushed inside the ear canal.

Dr Meena Nihalani of Fortis Hospitals says the wax pushed down further can block the ear. “If pushed way too far, it can also rupture the eardrum,” she says.

The evil cotton swab’s evil ways do not end here; it can also gross infections. “The ear buds that you use can pull on the tiny hair inside your ear and cause hair follicle infections. It’s best to leave your ear alone,” Dr Nihalani adds.

So what should we use instead? Nothing, actually. Your ears have a self-cleaning mechanism in place. Chewing food, talking and the growing skin inside your ears moves old earwax from inside the ears to the ear opening where it then flakes off or is washed off when you take a bath.

Go see a doctor if you feel irritation inside your ear. Don’t try to do anything on your own, advise experts. (Shutterstock)

But if you still feel that things are just not right inside your ear and that it needs a human intervention, just see a doctor.

Dr Savyasachi Saxena, an ENT specialist says that if you feel the ear wax is too hard and it just won’t come out or if it is causing you pain and discomfort, visit a doctor and he’ll help you out.

So what do you do with all the Q-tips you just bought? Maybe fix your eyeliner or something ...

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