Are Q-tips a safe method for cleaning out your ears?q-tip, ear cleaning

Are you someone who is obsessive about cleaning out their ears? If so, then you may turn to Q-tips to get your ears squeaky clean; however, maybe you’ve started hearing more and more people tell you that it’s not safe to use Q-tips. Is it an effective method or could it cause more harm than good? Our Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Oxnard and Camarillo, CA, ENT doctors are here to weigh in on the subject.

You get out of the shower and you hate that there seems to be some water trapped in your ear (and perhaps a bit of soap, too!). So the first thing you do after you towel off is pull out a Q-tip to get those ears dry and clean. Halt! Put that Q-tip away if you value the health of your ears.

While it might feel good and rather rewarding to clean out your ears there is one problem: Q-tips shouldn’t actually go inside your ears. That’s right! All you have to do is read the instructions on a box of Q-tips and you’ll see that it says not to put these little instruments inside your ears.

“Why?” you may be wondering. Well, surprisingly enough, your ears should have some ear wax in order to trap bacteria and other debris and prevent infections. Of course, if you use Q-tips regularly, you could do one of two things: remove too much ear wax and leave your ears prone to infection, or push the ear wax further into the ear canal and cause an impaction (which can also result in muffled hearing or temporary hearing loss). Q-tips could even puncture the eardrum if you push them too far inside the ear canal.

So, what should you do if you notice that you have an excessive amount of earwax buildup? This is a good time to call one of our Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Oxnard and Camarillo otolaryngologists, who can safely clean out the ears if necessary. Of course, if you start to notice ear pain or other symptoms that could be a sign of an ear infection, it’s also important that you come in for treatment.

West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat is proud to provide comprehensive ENT care to the Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Oxnard and Camarillo, CA, areas. Whether you are experiencing symptoms of an ear infection or you have questions about your ENT health, we are here to help.