Are Q-Tips Good for Removing Ear Wax?
Ear wax build-up is one of the most annoying things that we have to deal with now and then, especially because it can block the ear canal and create a very unpleasant feeling during which it's as if our ear is stuffed with something. It can also affect our hearing by causing a ringing sound heard in the ear that is clogged.
There are many advertisements and various products that are supposed to help in the removal of ear wax. Unfortunately, most of them are not only ineffective but can also be dangerous to the overall health of our ears. The most widespread of them is, of course, the cotton buds, also known as Q-Tips.
Even though they are destined to be used in cosmetics, first aid or even cleaning some remote parts where brushes can't reach, they have become insanely popular as a way to remove ear wax. However, the validity of this use is not supported by otolaryngologists.
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, when used for the aforementioned reason, Q-tips offer the exact opposite result of what they are supposed to do. Instead of pulling ear wax out, Q-tips push it in. Besides the obvious consequence of blocking the ear canal even further, this action hides another potential danger. Pieces of dirt, dust, or even some pathogens trapped in ear wax are pushed inside the ear thus increasing the possibility of an ear infection greatly.
Just like producing ear wax is a natural procedure of the human body, removing it is also done by our body. Activities like chewing, or any other type of jaw movement helps in pushing ear wax outwards through tiny hairs in the ear.
When the above procedure does not occur, for whatever reason, we are supposed to visit a medical expert who will remove it safely and effectively. And for those of you wondering if preemptive measures help in this occasion, the answer is “most likely no“. There are many rumored remedies like pouring a few drops of alcohol, vinegar or some other liquid in order to prevent ear wax from accumulating in high quantities. Unfortunately, if the person’s body has the tendency to produce it in large amounts, a few drops, even on a regular basis will not make a difference.
However, there is one thing that you can do to delay the build-up as much as possible. Namely, you should prevent water from entering your ears since it has the ability to dilate ear wax, making blocking of the ear canal a lot faster.