Grandparents tell us not to stick anything smaller than our elbow into our ears. Ear specialists in the USA now agree. They say that cleaning your ears with cotton buds can cause damage to your ears and hearing. A doctor said cotton buds seem harmless but can cause damage. She said: "People want to stick things in their ears and they think it’s the right thing to do, but [cotton buds] can cause holes in the eardrum and [make it easier to get] infections."
The doctors said earwax is an important substance to keep our ears healthy. Many people believe earwax is a sign of being dirty. This is wrong and leads to unsafe ear-cleaning habits. Our body produces earwax to do the important job of cleaning the ears, stopping them from drying out, and helping them to sweat. It also protects the ears against bacteria, bugs and dust. Cotton buds can push earwax inside the ear and cause blockages and damage.