If you’ve ever heard that you shouldn’t stick anything in your ears for any reason, you should heed that advice. While the temptation to clean every possible accessible orifice may compel you, you are actually doing more harm than good by sticking a cotton swab (or anything else) in your ears.
The ears are truly amazing. Not only do they house the smallest bones in the body, they are completely self-sufficient.
Ear wax is not an icky bodily substance, it is the means by which intruders are kept out, those precious tiny bones and ear drum are protected, and the ear canal is kept moist and clean.
The biological name for ear wax is cerumen. It’s made by sweat glands and combines with dead skin cells and sebum (an oily substance made by glands in the skin) in the ear. With antibacterial properties, cerumen is perfectly suited to protect your ears in every way.
Your Ears Push Old Wax Out Naturally
Ever wonder what happens to ear wax (if you don’t pull it out, that is)? Once formed, the wax moves every time your jaw moves: eating, talking, chewing gum, yawning. Old wax is pushed out, like riding an escalator.
If you stick something in your ear, the wax gets pushed back into the canal and can’t get off the escalator. What can occur if it’s done consistently is the wax becomes impacted and can’t make its own way out. If this happens, then you really do have to do something to get the wax out—and it’s not especially fun.
Ears rarely need to be cleaned. The only time it’s indicated is if you notice changes to your hearing; a doctor has tools to flush out impacted cerumen.