Surprisingly Unhealthy Habits

Cotton Swabs

The old saying that you should never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear really is true. Cotton swabs are versatile tools with many different uses. However, cleaning your ears should not be one of their uses. In fact, nowhere on cotton swab packaging does it suggest that they should be used to clean ears. A study by Henry Ford Hospital found an association between cotton swab use and ruptured eardrums. In addition to rupturing the eardrum, cotton swabs can actually push earwax deeper into the ear canal. For most people, a healthy amount of earwax is a good thing. Earwax is basically a protective barrier that keeps your ear canal safe from dirt and microbes. However, too much wax or hardened wax blocking the ear canal can be a problem. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor about safer alternatives to clean your ears.

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Review Date: 
April 1, 2015

Last Updated:
April 1, 2015