Every human being has a yellowish, sticky substance which is present in the ear called Cerumen or more commonly known as, ear wax. Ear wax is a protective mechanism that is created within the ear to safeguard them from the entry of foreign substances like dirt, dust, water, microorganisms, and even small insects.

Ears do tend to clean themselves from time to time. It keeps pushing the wax outside the ear naturally. The spiral shape of the ear canal helps the wax to come out when the dead skin of the ears comes off. Ear wax gets pushed out due to jaw movements like yawning, talking, and chewing.

However, people tend to clean the ear themselves, especially with cotton buds. It is indeed true that the earwax comes off with a cotton bud. But the sad reality is that the amount of ear wax that comes out is really small and the majority of the portion gets pushed back deeper into the ear canal against the eardrum. This affects the natural cleaning mechanism of the ear leading to wax build-up inside the ear canal. When wax build-up for a longer period of time and is not removed naturally, they become hard and impacted, causing ear pain, and affecting hearing sensitivity.

Ear wax helps to keep the skin in the ear lubricated. If the wax is removed frequently using cotton buds, it will irritate the skin and make it more prone to infections.

Hence, it is best advised not to clean your ears using a cotton bud. If at all you feel uncomfortable, one can take a wet cloth and clean the entrance to the ear canal and then later dry it. However, if the wax build-up is too much, one must consult an ENT specialist to get the wax removed.