Cotton buds are adding to our ever increasing plastic waste problem. Over the last year, there has been a lot of discussion about the amount of plastic waste that the world is producing with Theresa May even stating that plastic waste is “one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world”. Unfortunately, cotton buds are adding to this problem. The BBC reported in 2018 that Scotland’s Environment Minister, Roseanna Cunningham, had announced a plan to ban plastic straws, following a similar move aimed at banning the sale and manufacture if of plastic-stemmed cotton buds.
Whilst some of you may be heartbroken that somewhere in the future you may no longer be able to buy the little life saving devices to fix your false eyelashes or get rid of excess nail polish, we know that some of you will be disappointed that you won’t be able to clean your ears with cotton buds anymore. Here at Veritas Hearing, we welcome this news as we don’t like them anyway and here’s why…
Earwax is good for your ears
Earwax keeps your ears clean by trapping dust and dirt. As new wax is produced, it pushes the old wax out and the dust and dirt comes out with it. Jaw movement encourages the earwax to migrate outwards, thus cleaning the ears of anything that shouldn’t be in there. Earwax also provides protection against bacteria, fungi, insects and water. So if the idea of something crawling into your ear keeps you awake at night, be glad you have earwax to reduce the chances of it happening. Earwax reduces the chances of ear infections including bacterial and fungal infections with bacteria-killing properties.
Cotton ear buds damage your ears and don’t clean them
If that wasn’t enough of an argument in favour of letting the ear clean itself there’s more. Cotton ear buds increase the risk of infection by scratching the inner ear. This leaves broken skin is vulnerable to infections. Pushing a cotton ear bud into your ear can just push back in any excess wax travelling out of your ear naturally. By doing so, you can damage the inner ear or even perforate the eardrum. Scratching the inside of your ear with a cotton bud may also make it worse. It can make it feel like there’s something in your ear, which just leads you to doing it even more. That just increases the chances of a scratch being infected or damaging your ear.
What to do and what not to do
First of all, don’t put anything in your ears. You can also just use a tissue on your finger after you’ve had a bath. Don’t try ear candling, it has no benefits and will more likely just damage your ears. If your ears seem blocked up, then you may need to get the wax removed by a professional. Make sure your hearing aids are kept clean of any dust, debris and earwax to extend their life and to make sure they keep you hearing.
If you would like to discuss our ear wax removal service, don’t hesitate to get in touch.