Don’t Put Anything Smaller Than Your Elbow in Your Ear

Have you heard of this saying before? It just cracks me up, but it really and truly is true. I used Q-tips for the majority of my life after every shower to clean out my ears even though I knew it was bad. I even knew of a family friend who slipped while using one and ended up puncturing her eardrum, but still I persisted using them. And knowing what WH Brother went through dealing with his eardrum puncturing (not from a Q-tip) and subsequent surgery, it’s not something you want to go through.

Basket of Q-tips

Oh, so innocent looking

It just felt so rewarding to take a quick swab after my shower and see that I had cleaned something so thoroughly. And it physically felt good, like an itch I had to scratch. However, about a year ago I started having minor earaches. I surmised that the years of my Q-tip cleaning habit may have something to do with it. So, I experimented and decided not to use them. It was a hard habit to break and I felt dirty at first for not doing it, but I managed to stop using these little devils.

Q-tip in the hand

And guess what? They feel so much better now! It seems that my ears even produce less wax as a result. Before, when I was always removing it (something your body makes because it needs it!), my body was probably producing more than usual to make up for the amount I was removing, thus removing it was only making it worse. Now, my ears are quite clean on their own. My body knows how to handle itself and I should trust it more.

Of course, I do sometimes have what feels like a little extra or some that is about to fall out and I help it on its way out a little. I wrap my finger in a tissue and gently swap the outside of my ear. Outside is key–I was going way too far in before.

Removing ear wax safely

If you don’t believe me about the dangers of using those cute little daggers in your ears, check out this article in which Dr. Jennifer Smullen from the Massachusetts Ear and Eye Infirmary confirms what we already know: we should step away from the Q-tips.

So why do I still have a Nantucket basket full of Q-tips? For the rare occasion that I use eye make-up and per usual make a mess of it. Eye safety and Q-tips is a post for another day, though…

Questions: Do you use Q-tips in your ears? Have you ever tried to quit the habit? Do you feel dirty if you don’t clean your ears? Any ear horror stories?

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4 thoughts on “Don’t Put Anything Smaller Than Your Elbow in Your Ear

  1. Interesting.
    I do use Q-tips, although I’ve read before that it’s better not to use them. I might give quitting a try.

    • It was definitely a hard habit for me to break as I had been doing it most of my life. Once you get over the hump (that time when you really, really want to do it, but don’t), it’s smooth sailing.

  2. Very interesting post! Yes, I also do use Q-tips, but after reading this I might step away from them.
    Thank you very much for sharing! 😉

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