Use cotton buds to clean your ears? Stop, says study

A bunch of cotton swabs

Dr. Seth Schwartz, chairperson of the committee that drafted the guidelines, said, "Patients may try to blindly instrument their ears with cotton ear buds, bobby pins, or other tools".

It's been well-reported that cleaning your ears with cotton buds can do more harm than good, but many of us remain guilty of carrying out the unsafe habit.

"The problem is that this effort to eliminate earwax is only creating further issues because the earwax is just getting pushed down and impacted farther into the ear canal", he explained.

Another warning to stop the practise was included in an updated clinical practice guideline from the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, released on Tuesday. Symptoms from impacted earwax include ear pain, itching, feeling of fullness in the ear, ringing in the ear (tinnitus), hearing loss, discharge coming from the ear, odor coming from the ear, cough, and/or change in hearing aid function, the report says.

Old wax naturally sloughs away and out of the ear over time and during bathing, but sometimes problems crop up. According to Heathline, when you have compacted ear wax, it can have some serious effects on your health. For the majority of people, ear wax removal happens naturally, with your body ridding itself of the old wax by itself; still, though, we're often taught that it's gross to leave our ears to our devices, even though poking around in there can be kind of risky to our health.

In some cases, that cleaning process doesn't work, causing earwax to accumulate and partly block the ear canal.

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The American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery hope that their updated guidelines will encourage better ear care among the general public.

Q-tips, pencils, hairpins, pen caps, jewelry, even Barbie doll accessories - people stick all kinds of things in their ears to remove earwax or to scratch an itchy ear. The movement of our jaw -from talking or chewing- and the continuous growth of skin within the ear canal helps to remove earwax, which then is washed off during showers. All of these things can cause hearing loss, dizziness or other symptoms of ear injury. About one in 10 children, and one in 20 adults, will experience cerumen build-up that leads to a block or a partial block in the ear canal.

DO ask your doctor about home remedies for treating earwax impaction.

But sadly, the science is in, and the resounding conclusion is that we should treat our ear wax by. leaving it alone.

And if you're seriously concerned about your ear wax, see a doctor or other medical professional.

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