Some conversations really “catch my attention or ear.” I have heard many people, through the years, say they clean their ears with many different things, in many different ways. Some ways are quite common such as with water (irrigation) flushing, a Q-tip, etc… but some items really are unusual, or should I say unsafe for the ears.
Items such as bobby pins, tooth picks, and pen caps, are things that should not be used in our ears. They can easily puncture the ear drum if inserted too far or cause bleeding when the ear canal is scraped. In particular, those who have diabetes and taking blood thinners should be cautious. I love the look when I kindly mention that we may not want to use this or that, the confusion of “why not?” expression comes up. The common reasons not to use something are not even considered as unsafe. This makes me think that each person has their own views of doing things and that because we haven’t been injured by something, such as a bobby pin or tooth pick, that it’s still not a wise idea to use. It’s our responsibility, as an Audiologist, to have the conversation of what is important to a patient’s well being and successful hearing, all the while, helping those to understand how easy it can be to cause injury. We are here to clean the ears in a multitude of ways in a safe and comfortable manner.