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Say 'NO' to Earbuds

Written by
Dr. Deepthi Maringanti
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Jul 27, 2017 and last reviewed on Sep 07, 2018   -  1 min read



Earbuds are made up of tightly rolled cotton. If you have a practice of cleaning your ears often with cotton buds, you must read this. This habit interferes with the normal self-cleaning mechanisms of the external ear canal. Cleaning induces wax formation, and the wax needs to be cleaned as the build-up interferes with hearing. And, this becomes a vicious cycle. The ear loses its capacity to self-clean.

Say 'NO' to Earbuds

The skin of the ear canal is very thin, outer layers of which, are regularly shed just like skin elsewhere. This is done by slender hair-like structures called cilia present on the surface of the external ear canal. Usually, ear canals produce a clear fluid called earwax, which is washed out of the outer ear canal by the cilia every day, and it goes unnoticed.

Any injury to the skin, even a minor trauma like çleaning with earbuds disturbs the automated wax clearance mechanisms and wax get accumulated. Earwax, which is a clear fluid when produced, gets oxidized and turns brown or black when accumulated and in due course, gets hardened. This hardened wax blocks the ear canal entirely and causes an earache and decreased hearing.

Never use any instruments like safety pins or keys to clean the wax. These can deposit a fungal infection over the injured crevices of the external ear canal. When infected, especially in diabetic patients, it produces severe pain, itching, and a watery discharge, occasionally mixed with blood. This condition is known as otomycosis.

Treatment of Blocked Ears:

The best way to treat accumulated wax is to use wax-softening ear drops. Once the wax softens, it should be cleaned by a professional using either an ear suction or syringe. Syringing by yourself is dangerous and can cause a problem in the eardrum.


It is not necessary to clean your ears regularly because ears have an automatic cleaning mechanism. Cleaning with earbuds, can cause further accumulation of wax or induce an infection, and is to be always avoided.

For more information consult an ENT otolaryngologist online -->


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Last reviewed at:
07 Sep 2018  -  1 min read


Dr. Deepthi Maringanti

Dr. Deepthi Maringanti


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