Little in this world feels better than the cool, refreshing clean of a drenched q-tip in your ear; it makes you feel new again in a way that only a fresh shower or an expensive face mask can emulate.
Still, if a new article from Journal of Pediatrics is anything to go by, emulate it you should.
The article gathers data from twenty years (1990 to 2010) and finds that cotton swabs send 36 kids under 18 to the emergency room every day. “Despite warnings against the use of CTAs in the ear canal and use of CTAs by children,” the article found, “these injuries continued to occur.”
The majority of these kids had been using Q-tips themselves, Allure reports, and a quarter of them were diagnosed with ruptured eardrums from cleaning their ears.
Fortunately, the entire premise that earwax needs to be cleaned is a misconception. Earwax is actually protective, the HuffPost reports, and not only that, our ears clean themselves. Driving a q-tip into your ear actually pushes the earwax down deeper, into the parts of your ear that aren’t self-cleaning. So even if it seems impossible to leave your ears alone, the absolute best thing you can do for them is try.
And, if you’ve seen that horrifying episode of Girls, you know that a ruptured eardrum is something you wouldn’t wish on even Hannah.
Confession: I would wish a lot on Hannah.