Q-Tips & Ear Care

Q-tips look so innocuous…

A white cardboard lollipop-like stick with cotton on each end. How can they possibly be dangerous for your hearing?

Believe it or not, earwax, medically known as cerumen, is not dirt. It functions as a lubricant and barrier to dust or dirt entering the ear canal, away from the eardrum. Our ears essentially clean themselves. Once the moist earwax dries, with every movement of our jaws, such as talking, chewing, and snoring, the dried earwax works itself up to the surface. It’s safer to remove the wax when it reaches the outer surface, but not necessarily with a q-tip. With the use of q-tips, although they seem small enough, they actually push earwax from the outer ear down into the ear canal. With the wax, dirt, dust, bacteria, fungus, and viruses are pushed into parts of the canal that are not self-cleaning. This can cause inner ear infections and impacted earwax. Also, the eardrum can be punctured if the q-tip is pushed too far into the ear canal or used too aggressively. Hearing loss can result from pushing wax too deeply into the canal causing a blockage. In essence, earwax serves an extremely important function for the betterment of our health and wellness. CNC Hearing and Balance Neurotologist Moises Arriaga urges his patients to avoid using q-tips to clean your ears.  Quite simply, Dr. Arriaga says, “Don’t.”

In reality, our ears require to be cleaned when they feel full or you’re experiencing a loss of hearing, even when they’re being cleaned by a physician. With the lubricating nature of earwax, frequent removal will make your ears feel dry and itchy as histamines are released. It becomes a vicious cycle as you feel the need to swab your ears, they become more itchy. 

At the CNC Hearing and Balance Center, of the Culicchia Neurological Center, you will receive complete hearing care from highly trained physicians and audiologists. The Center is under the leadership of Dr. Moises Arriaga, a world renowned Neurotologist. Dr. Arriaga and the expertly skilled staff are qualified to diagnose, treat, and manage your hearing loss. Call us today for more information or to make an appointment in Marrero, Uptown or Mandeville at (504) 934-8320.

There is no other coordinated multidisciplinary team in the New Orleans area as deeply qualified to address hearing and balance issues as CNC Hearing and Balance Center.