There will be people who tell you that it's okay to use cotton swabs. Despite the warnings on the box telling you not to, you might have friends or family members who tell you that you won't do yourself any harm, especially if you take care when poking them into your ears. 

The truth is, of course, that you shouldn't use cotton swabs. Even if you did take care when using them, you could slip or cause the tip of the swab to fall into your ear, and you would then suffer the consequences. And there are other reasons why you should decide against this method of cleaning your ears. 

Let's take a closer look at why you shouldn't use ear swabs.

You could damage your ears

As we have just suggested, this is one of the biggest reasons why cotton swabs shouldn't be used.

If you push too far into your ear, you could rupture your eardrum, and this could lead to intense pain and hearing loss. You would then need surgery to fix the damage you had caused. You could also cause injury to the lining of your ear, and this could lead to swelling, scarring, and bleeding. And if the tip of the cotton swab did fall into your ear, you could suffer damage to your eardrum, and you might experience hearing loss too. 

So, the next time you pick up a cotton swab, ask yourself: Is it really worth the risk?

Your ears are self-cleaning

In most cases, you don't need to clean your ears at all. When new wax is produced, the older wax is pushed to the surface of your ear where it dries and flakes off, so you don't need to remove it manually. 

You should also be thankful for your earwax. While it's gross to look at, we know, it is actually serving a purpose. The wax in your ear contains antifungal and antibacterial properties, so it protects your ears from germs, bacteria and the risk of infection daily. Earwax also acts as a barrier to the dirt, dust and other particles of grime that fall into your ear and prevents it from falling deeper into your ear canal. This soiled earwax is then removed from your ear during the natural process of wax production. 

So, don't interfere with the self-cleaning process of your ears. Every time you stick a cotton swab in your ears, you might only push the wax down further or impact the natural wax production within the ear. This could cause a greater buildup of wax, an ear infection and the potential for hearing loss. 

You should always seek professional advice

Your hearing health professional will always advise you against using cleaning swabs for the reasons we have listed above. They will also alert you to other ear-related health problems that could be missed if you persisted in cleaning your ears yourself. So, don't risk the future of your hearing health by using cotton swabs or any other potentially unsafe cleaning method. A hearing specialist will use the correct tools to clean your ears, and will give you further advice about the care and health of your ears.

Should you clean your ears with cotton swabs? We think you now have the answer to the question. For the short and the long-term health of your ears and hearing, always seek professional advice about the best methods to use, and always speak to a hearing specialist if your ears are excessively blocked. You will benefit from their help, and you won't put your hearing at risk in the process.