A new study warns against using the cotton swabs, especially the cotton-tip, to clean inside the ear.

Under the presumptions that using the cotton-tip of a cotton swab to clean the earwax from the ear canal as a hygiene routine has been found to be quite dangerous, especially for smaller children.

In the Journal of Pediatrics, the study conducted by researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that each year there is about 12,500 children who are treated in U.S. emergency departments for ear injuries. If broken down to per day, there are 34 visits for children under the age of 18 who are treated.

Dr. Kris Jatana, the leading author of the study and pediatric otolaryngologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, says children and adults don’t need to clean their earwax as a hygiene routine.

Researchers looked at hospital visits between 1990 and 2010 finding there was an estimate of 260,000 children with ear injuries in the emergency room.

Those visits contained incidents of tissue tear that separates the ear canal from the middle ear which has been the most common incident.

What a cotton swab does is cause cuts in the ear canals, puncture the eardrums, and even dislocate the hearing bones. When any of the these happen, it can cause hearing loss, dizziness, or symptoms of ear injury.

Dr. Jatana says using cotton swabs to clean the canals goes against their self-cleaning process. Instead of cleaning the canals, the cotton tip only manages to push the earwax further inside the ear entrapping it and making it difficult to get out on its own.

According to Dr. Seth Schwartz, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery mentions that the want to clean the ears out is cultural and if there is a need to clean the ears the way to go about it is to clean the outside. All that is needed is a wet cloth to clean the outside of the ear.

However, if the earwax is a concern then it is recommended to go to a physician to get it taken care of. The ear is a sensitive body part and it is at a higher risk of harm so cotton swabs aren’t helping clean but disrupt and harm the ears.

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