You know that therapeutic feeling you get when you clean your ears with a cotton bud? Well, it's time to stop.
Ear, nose and throat specialist, Professor Charles Myataza warns of the dangers of using cotton buds.
“As professionals, we advise against the usage of cotton buds because they do more harm than good. Sometimes the cotton gets left behind and become foreign objects that need to be removed. Using cotton buds pushes wax further inside the ear and the cotton buds can damage the eardrum.”
Contrary to popular belief, Professor Myataza says, wax is not dirty.
“Ear wax is not dirty. Ears are supposed to secrete wax. It is there to lubricate the ears, it keeps a balance of organisms, it acts as a deterrent or plug against insect, it also makes the environment inside the ear to be slightly acidic. If it is not there, some organisms – like fungi – can flourish,” he adds.
How do you clean your ears?
They are self-cleaning organs, says Professor Myataza.
“If you feel very strongly, you can use the tip of you wash towel to clean the entry of your ears, without putting soap and water inside, and that will be enough. If your ear is itchy, you can use your finger to press the outer ear,” he adds.
Professor Myataza says those who secrete too much wax or have extremely thin or narrow ear canals can use wax softeners for 2-3 days every second week.
According to Harvard Medical School, cotton buds are not a good idea.
“Clumps of earwax pushed down near the eardrum can lead to painful ear infections.”