Everyone has cotton swabs like Q-Tips in their bathroom, but is it safe to clean your ears with them? Dr. Momjian, founder of Urgent 9, appeared on ABC News to discuss the potential for ear injury when using Q-Tips.
Earlier today, Dr. Manuel Momjian appeared once more on a local news program in his capacity as a medical expert. Today, Dr. Momjian was discussing a common problem that affects many of his patients, but especially children: ear injuries resulting from Q-Tip use.
As Dr. Momjian explains on ABC News, our ears are essentially a self-cleaning system. Foreign objects — including Q-Tips — don’t belong anywhere near our ear canal or inner ear. The only part of your ear that you should be actively cleaning is the outside, and perhaps the very opening of the ear canal. Your ears will naturally push excess wax to this area, where cleaning is simple and non-invasive.
Children in particular tend to become overzealous when cleaning their ears with Q-Tips, and they injure their ears in large numbers each year, ending up with a trip to an Urgent Care center that’s totally unnecessary. Both children and adults tend to be far too aggressive in their Q-Tip use, which results in several fairly predictable maladies. When you push a cotton swab deep in your ear, you can actually impact wax deep into your ear canal, uncomfortably clogging the whole system and ending up unable to hear out of that ear!
Worse than that is the potential for damage directly to your eardrum, which is absolutely reachable with a standard Q-Tip. It’s not unheard of to injure or even puncture the delicate eardrum during an overly invasive ear “cleaning” session. That’s a problem that’s a lot more serious than an ear infection or impacted wax, and it’s a scenario you want to avoid at all costs — as it can lead to permanent hearing loss.