Many of us have grown up using the cotton swabs (Q-tips) thinking they were the only alternative to clean our ears. Who hasn’t felt the satisfaction of using one and seeing the accumulation of wax on the end of the cotton tip and thinking how much better they felt knowing their ears are now clean? The only problem is that using cotton swabs can push ear wax (also called cerumen) deeper in to the ear canal causing the potential for even more blockage in the future and potentially hearing loss. In fact, the American Academy of Otolaryngologists (doctors who specialize in conditions of the eyes, ears, nose and throat) have stated that cotton tipped swabs like Q-tips should NEVER be used to clean the ear canal.
Annually, 12 million Americans head to the doctor’s office for “impacted or excessive cerumen,” which leads to 8 million Americans having earwax removal procedures done by medical professionals. There are many more who try candling at local salons to remove ear wax outside of medical facilities.
There are alternative at-home solutions available that have proven success but always seek medical attention if you’re feeling pain and discomfort in your ears or blockage is so great that hearing has become an issue.