NOV 21, 2017 05:46 AM PST

Q-tips: You're Doing it Wrong

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Doctors like to recommend against putting anything smaller than your elbow in your ear, and this apparently includes Q-tips! Q-tips, or the small cotton swabs that are perfectly sized to dab and clean small areas of your bodies, could actually cause hearing loss when used incorrectly in the ear. Because it is so perfectly shaped for the ear canal, people who use Q-tips to clean the ears of wax can actually push the more wax into the eardrum, creating a wax plug that impacts hearing.

If you experience intermittent hearing loss without any other indication, wax buildup could be the culprit, though this should always be properly diagnosed by a physician. The good news in such cases is that hearing can be restored with removal of the waxy plug. The remedy involves a solution that dissolves part of the wax and causes it to dislodge from the eardrum. To prevent such cases from happening, doctors recommend against Q-tips in the ear; instead clean the outside part with a damp cloth or just leave it alone!
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
SEP 12, 2018
Videos
SEP 12, 2018
Are Sound Waves Being Weaponized?
There have been a lot of headlines recently about strange brain injuries to staff at US Embassies in Cuba and China. Several staff diplomats in the two cou...
SEP 20, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
SEP 20, 2018
Defining the "Colors" of Antimatter
Atoms of regular matters, such as hydrogen, can emit a distinct spectrum of lights when their electrons get excited and move between two different ene...
SEP 26, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
SEP 26, 2018
Musical Instrument-inspired Chemical Sensor
The connections between art and science are everywhere. To find them one needs a pair of curiosity-driven eyes, or ears. According to a recent article in t...
SEP 30, 2018
Microbiology
SEP 30, 2018
These Microscopic Things Elude Our Eyes Every Day
We take much of what we can see for granted, but if your eyes had the observational power of a microscope, you’d probably look at the world very diff...
OCT 07, 2018
Videos
OCT 07, 2018
Certain Foods Encourage a Gut Microbe, and Colon Cancer
Researchers reveal more evidence that refined grains and sugars and processed meats are bad for colon health....
OCT 22, 2018
Videos
OCT 22, 2018
How Many Bacteria are There in the World?
Researchers once thought that there were only a few thousand bacterial species on the planet - a gross underestimation....
Loading Comments...