Using Q-tips to clean your ears is a no brainer. While it’s a usual habit, there are still risks involved when it comes to cleaning the insides of your ears with it.
Often, repeated usage of Q-tips can cause stinging pain. To help you with that, we’ve come up with things you need to know about avoiding ear pain after using Q-tips.
What causes ear pain?
Generally, ear wax keeps your ear canal clean. It helps prevent bacteria from getting too deep inside the ear, creating a protective coating that reduces infections.
Although excessive ear wax can be quite problematic, most of it is still beneficial. In fact, the ears are entirely self-cleaning.
But over time, dirt can migrate outside the ear, which means that you have to clean it manually. According to a study, approximately 68% of people clean their ears using cotton swabs or Q-tips.
Unfortunately, inserting a Q-tip inside your ears can cause a lot of problems. The more frequently you rub your ears, the more you inflame the skin.
What should you do once you experience ear pain?
Once you start experiencing discomfort after using a Q-tip, you can try taking medications like Ibuprofen to help relieve the pain.
Also, you can do these simple remedies to treat ear pain at home:
- Apply a cold or warm washcloth over your ear to alleviate the sensation
- Use over-the-counter ear drops
- Sit in an upright position to relieve ear pressure
- Chew gum to lessen aching
If the pain is no longer bearable, you should contact your primary doctor, as it could be a sign of something more serious like an ear disease or injury.
What are the dangers of using Q-Tips to clean ears?
Q-tips can cause potential damage to your ears, so it’s better to know the risks involved beforehand.
First, you’ll be prone to ear wax impaction. This happens when a Q-tip pushes the ear wax deeper, causing unlikely build up.
Because of that, bacteria can grow rapidly and an ear infection occurs. On one hand, the rough insertion and motion of a Q-tip can injure the ear too.
One of the most frequent ear injuries is a ruptured eardrum. Due to the eardrum’s delicate nature, any harsh action can easily fracture it.
What alternatives can you use to clean ears instead of Q-Tips?
Keep in mind that if you want to remove ear wax without any pain, then you must avoid using Q-tips to lessen further complications.
The following steps below will help you clean your ear canal carefully:
- Apply a few drops of mineral oil or baby oil in the ears to soften the earwax
- After wax has softened (normally in 1 to 2 days), use a dropper and slowly add warm water to your ears
- Then, gently tilt your head to the side to allow the water to irrigate, draining the ears
- With a towel, dab the outer part of your ear to let it fully dry
In addition, there are also other ear cleaning methods that you should avoid. That includes commercial suction devices and ear candling at spas.
Always remember that the safest way to get your earwax removed is for it to be done professionally by your healthcare provider. If you’re still unsure, it’s advisable that you visit an ENT specialist first.