We all do it. It's a temptation that we just can't resist. No words can describe the pleasure that one gets from using those little, cotton ear buds in your ears and digging out dirt. The more the wax, the greater is the feeling of achievement. It has become such a regular practice that we think it's normal to prick our ears with cotton buds. But what we don't know is that it does us more harm than good.
While you think that by taking the wax out of your ear canal, you're doing your body a favour, here's what you need to know before you do it the next time:
Earwax is not supposed to be taken out
The earwax that we enjoy taking out is not unnecessary dirt produced by our ears. The skin inside the ears is thin and fragile, and highly susceptible to infection. Our body produces ear wax to protect the ear canal, and it is supposed to stay in there.
Ear buds were not invented to clean the insides of the ear
It was in the 1920s when Leo Gerstenzang, a Polish born American, saw his wife preening their child by wrapping a cotton around a toothpick, when the idea of making cotton swabs or ear buds occurred to him. He created the first sanitised ear bud, which he named Baby Gays. It's purpose was to reach hard-to-clean areas, like the outer surface of the ears, and not deep inside it.
You could be addicted to digging your ears with ear buds
Using ear buds gives great pleasure because our ears are filled with sensitive nerve endings, which send signals to various other parts of our bodies. Tickling their insides triggers all sorts of visceral pleasure and we're tempted into using it again and again. But doctors suggest that using cotton buds inside ears can easily grow into an addiction.
Using ear buds leads to the itch-scratch cycle, a self-perpetuating addiction of sorts. The more you use them, the more your ears itch; and the more your ears itch, the more you use them. Which can lead to causing infection or tearing of the ear-drum.
We hope you remember this the next time you reach out for that cotton bud.