In addition to cotton swabs, doctors have seen patients use hairpins, tweezers, pens, and even straws to clean their ears. Neither of these tools is effective, and cotton swabs in particular can do more harm than good.

They may give you a feeling of satisfaction and cleanliness, but it is actually a false feeling. Stick around and you’ll see all the damage they can do to your ears.

We would like to tell you about the different ways cotton swabs can be harmful to your inner ear and how to replace them in your daily routine.

They Can Cause Injury

It may sound unbelievable, but cotton swabs can traumatize the middle ear and, more specifically, cause the eardrum to rupture. According to a study that looked at ear injuries related to cotton swabs, around 73% of them were related to ear cleaning.

This is a large percentage considering that the study was conducted between 1990 and 2010 and studied more than 263,000 children.

They Can Push The Earwax Deeper Into The Ear

Many people feel the need to remove earwax, especially when they have a buildup. However, they are just pushing it deeper into the ear canal, and as a result, the wax just sits there instead of moving around.

In that case, the only solution is to visit a doctor who can professionally remove the wax, which can be uncomfortable at times.

They Can Cause Infections


One of the most beneficial properties of wax is to trap and contain the growth of bacteria that enter our ears. It acts as a safety net that prevents bacteria from causing serious damage.

However, when we use cotton swabs and push both earwax and bacteria, we encourage bacteria to harm us. In this case, it is very possible that we suffer from ear infections.

What To Do If Cotton Swabs Cause You Pain

If the pain isn’t severe at first and you find it bearable, you can try taking over-the-counter pain relievers and see how it goes. However, if the pain persists and is then accompanied by dull hearing or ringing in the ears, you should call a doctor. It could be a more serious ear injury that needs professional advice and attention.

How To Clean Your Ears Safely

These 2 methods have proven to be the most effective and safest to use at home:

Use ear drops: this could be baby oil, mineral oil, or glycerin that is carefully placed in the ear. All of them will be able to soften the earwax. 2 days later, you can use a syringe to put some warm water in your ear and tilt your head to let the water escape. You will then need to use a clean towel to wipe the outside of the ear.

Use a clean tissue: earwax washes off every time you shower, but it can help remove the last bits this way. You can take a dry tissue, dry it with a little water, and then clean the outside of the ear.

However, there are some over-the-counter cleaning methods that you should avoid:

Ear Candling: Also known as ear coning, this method is very popular online, but according to doctors it is not effective at all. On the other hand, it can be dangerous and even cause your hair to burn.

Various objects: As mentioned above, many people use pen caps, keys, and clips to clean their ears. However, these items can get stuck in your ears and cause serious damage, such as perforating your eardrums.

Have you ever suffered from something related to the use of cotton swabs in the ears? If yes, what was it and how was it treated?