Don't Repeat My Mistake!
You probably use Q-Tips or Johnson & Johnson swabs or any other random brand of cotton swabs daily. Whatever you do, DON'T USE COTTON SWABS TO CLEAN YOUR EARS! I know a lot of people that do this. I used to do this and it only caused me trouble! Let me tell you about a trip I took to the doctor...
It all started when one day, I noticed that I couldn't hear as well as I used to. My ears felt like they were clogged and everything sounded muffled. This went on for a week or so before I told my mother to take me to a doctor. My general physician checked out my ears and with a disappointed tone, he said my ears were really clogged. My ears we so clogged, he had to refer me to a specialist: the ENT (ears-nose-throat doctor).
The next week I was at the ENT's office. I should warn you, I may get kind of graphic here. Anyway, I sat in a chair and with his magnifying instrument, the doctor looked inside my ears. Basically, he said I had an insane amount of earwax lodged way inside my ears. This was what was preventing me from hearing as well as I should have. He told me he would have to scrape it all out with his, um, instrument. Then, he took a very very long needle out of a drawer and told me to hold still. And I did. I was so afraid that if I moved while he probed the needle around in my ear, I'd go deaf. What I saw next horrified me. You know how earwax is usually yellow? Well, what he took out of my ears was mostly black. The doctor managed to dig out balls of gunk of out my ear, which he handed to his assistant who was holding a napkin so she could wrap the gunk in it and throw it out. He jokingly said , "Look! It's your brain!" as he'd show me the black stuff coming out of my ears. I was so relieved when it was all over. Best of all, I could hear again! Everything sounded so crisp and new.
The reason why I had to experience all this is because of my use of cotton swabs as "ear cleaners". You see, using a Q-Tip to clean your ears only pushes back any ear wax thats in your ear. And if you do happen to get earwax on your Q-Tip, that's bad. You actually need earwax in your ears. I know that sounds gross and annoying, but its true. Earwax is to your ears what boogers are to your nose. Earwax catches any dirt and prevents it from getting into your inner ear. After a while, earwax will naturally just fall out of your ear. THERE IS NO NEED for you to stick a Q-Tip in there or your finger. And when you have no earwax in your ear, the ear canal dries up and flakes of dry skin can actually fall back into your ear (like dandruff).
I did all the wrong things and over time, dead skin and ear wax accumulated in my ears and turned into that black gunk the doctor had to remove. After that visit, the doctor told me to not clean my ears with anything smaller than my elbow. Basically, I was to never touch my ears again!
I have been wanting to post this blog for a long time now. I really hope that at least one person stops using cotton swabs to clean their ears after reading this. Having that needle in my ear was the most eerie, creepy, uncomfortable feeling and I hope no one else has to go through it.
1. Don't get water in your ears! Use a blow dryer if you do. Do not dry with cotton swabs.
2. DO NOT share ear phones or in-ear earbuds with anyone! This was my main problem back then and what got me taking out ear wax in my ears in the first place. Now, I clean my earbuds constantly.
3. Make sure anything that goes in your ears is clean. Wipe your earbuds. Don't put your fingers in there! There's lots of dirt under your nails even if they look clean.
4. Do not stick things in your ear! Only a doctor should do that. I would use Q-Tips in my ears after the shower or if my ear was itchy. Please use your Q-Tips for cosmetic purposes ONLY!
If you know anyone that cleans their ears with their fingers or cotton swabs or even their keys (I've seen people do this before), tell them to stop! The occasional scratch is alright, but trust me, this it how it starts and it can lead to constant ear cleaning and then before you know it, a visit to the doctor...
Disclaimer: I am not a professional. I can only speak from experience.
Hope this blog post enlighted you!