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These 9 Disturbing Facts Will Turn You Off From Cleaning Your Ears Forever

November 17, 2015 3 min read

While some of us use tools like Q-tips to clean out the wax from our ears when we feel it necessary, others of us plunge them into our ears daily because it feels good. Unfortunately, neither is safe. Here are nine reasons to stop harming your ears this way.

1. When you "clean" your ears, you're actually allowing bacteria in.

This is why you need to stop cleaning your ears.

“If the bacteria balance is changed either by changing the environment or sticking something in it, then you could introduce new species of potentially pathogenic bacteria or cause an injury to the inner part of the ear which could result in an infection,” Dr Adam Roberts, a senior lecturer in molecular microbiology at UCL, explains.

2. Cotton buds can actually cause ear infections.

This is why you need to stop cleaning your ears.

There's a lot of info out there that speaks to the pitfalls of cleaning your ears out with cotton buds. One study examined 87 kids with swimmer's ear and found that 70 percent of them had cleaned their ears with this tool a week leading up to the infection. A third of them had used Q-tips daily. Another report found that adults in Nigeria who had ear problems also used “self-ear cleaning with indiscriminate objects."

3. Some earwax is necessary.

This is why you need to stop cleaning your ears.

While it feels good to know you're quite hygienic, your ears actually clean themselves. And, earwax is important in keeping things inside there to run well, allowing any bad stuff gathered in your ear to exit properly. And using tools like Q-tips, pencils and toothpicks can just push the wax farther down the ear canal.

4. You need earwax or your ear might shrivel up and die.

This is why you need to stop cleaning your ears.

Wax is complete with antibacterial properties and is like your body's own moisturizer, keeping your ears from becoming full of bad stuff, cracked and dry.

[bctt tweet="If you love your ears, then put down the Q-tips right now."]

5. Cleaning your ears can lead to falling over.

This is why you need to stop cleaning your ears.

Well, not necessarily, however it can lead to imbalances. In fact, a study was conducted at Germany’s biggest university ear, head, and neck clinic regarding nearly 200 patients suffering from ringing in the ears known as trauma-induced tinnitus, and vertigo. What they discovered was that the most severe cases were from both explosions as well as the use of cotton buds.

6. Ear candles can burn and deafen you.

Having something placed into your ear and set on fire surely doesn't sound safe, does it? Well, it's typically not, and ear candles are no exception. The FDA also has concerns over the hollow cloth cones that are dipped in either paraffin or beeswax. From causing facial burns to perforated eardrums and blocked ears, you'd be smart in avoiding this option.

7. Tampering with your wax can result in aural discharge.

This is why you need to stop cleaning your ears.

From a Q-tip to headphones, blocking your wax's exit can result in a wall being built up. In fact, 12 million people are admitted to the hospital in the US each year for this, and 8 million have to have surgery.

8. Cotton buds can get lost in your ears.

This is why you need to stop cleaning your ears.

It's not as uncommon as you might think, and you might not even realize it when it happens. And imagine all the stuff that can latch onto it when it's stuck in there!

This is why you need to stop cleaning your ears.

9. There are much safer ways to clean your ears.

From over-the-counter ear drops that work to soften or dislodge wax buildup to the expert-recommended technique of using olive oil, you don't have to give it up for good, you just have to change the way you go about it, for your safety of course. You can also make an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat doctor.

And remember ... that just because Buddha did it, doesn't make it safe!

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