Just not inside your ear canal.
When did Q tips become the enemy of the medical professional?
Never let them use the Q tips in their ears. It was a cryptic message. NEVER. In the ears. That was day one of medical school.
But I ALWAYS used Q tips in my ears before medical school. What was so bad about that? Wasn’t that the purpose of the Q tip? To clean out all that ear wax? To dry out the ears after a shower? Why must I denounce its use now? What would happen if I didn’t? Would there be lawsuits? Would there be injury?
When reading the back of the box of Q tips, there is no mention of its use in the ears. That’s funny. Had I really been using it wrong all this time? What had my parents done, teaching me such insanity? You don’t put it inside things, you use to apply stuff, clean stuff, and…..delicately care for sensitive areas on a baby? Oh dear. That could be misleading. Is that how the Q tip use in the ear began? That would be a sensitive area on a baby.
Actually, it wasn’t until the 70’s that the marketing changed. You could use Q tips in your ears back then. There must have been injuries and complaints. That’s when the manufacturer started to denounce its internal use.
So what’s so bad about Q tips in the ears anyway?
- Ear wax (otherwise known as cerumen) is supposed to be in the ear
- Because it keeps bugs and other bad stuff out
- Using a Q tip just pushes cerumen farther back into the ear canal
- When cerumen pushes against the tympanic membrane (the ear drum), it can decrease hearing
- If pushed far enough, it can become impacted and also lead to dizziness, vertigo, and pain
- I’ve had to fish out the fuzzy cottony end of the Q tip from 1 or 2 ears in my lifetime
- Which means sometimes it can become a foreign body in the ear
- The manufacturer explicitly says not to use inside the ear
- But it’s OK to use around the ear
Guess what? I still use Q tips in my ears. I’m not ashamed. I’m really not a big ear wax producer. I use it to dry out the water in my ears after a shower or bath. I’ve never had a problem with cerumen impaction or hurting myself after daily Q tip use. Daily. Q tip. Use. That’s right, this is how I choose to live my life people, right on the edge. I live for danger.