It's embarrassing to have too much ear wax so we routinely use cotton buds to get the gunk out. However, sticking them into your ears may be dangerous, says Dr. Willie E. de la Cruz, an ear, nose, throat-head and neck surgeon at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Sta. Mesa, Manila.
While you may see a satisfying bit of yellow on the cotton buds, chances are you're actually pushing most of the wax deeper into your ear canal.
"Cleaning the ear canal with cotton buds is unsafe and not recommended." He explains: "The use of cotton buds will push the wax deeper into the canal toward the ear drum causing obstruction into the transmission of sound, hence a reduction in hearing. I have patients who sustained ear perforations because of the said apparatus."
Dr. de la Cruz says the ear drum of an adult is just an inch (2.5 cm) from the entrance and the distance is shorter in children.
"Ear wax, also called cerumen, is produced by the ceruminous glands found only in the outer one third of the ear canal. No ear wax is produced in the inner two thirds of the ear canal," he says. With cotton buds, you're really only pushing in all that wax.
Not convinced? To show you what exactly happens inside your ears every time you use cotton buds, watch the video produced by Tech Insider below: