Cotton swabs, more popularly known as “Q-tips” are usually used for cleaning our ears. But did you know that it can do more harm than good? William H. Shapiro, and audiology doctor and the clinical associate professor from NYU Langone, explains why using them to clean our ears can be bad.
Shapiro says that most people don’t use the cotton swabs properly in cleaning their ears. Instead of cleaning their ears, they tend to push the wax inside the ear canal, and this can be detrimental to one’s hearing. When the wax gets pushed inside into the ear canal, it decreases the ear drum’s ability to vibrate. Therefore, affecting our ability to hear.
Moreover, Shapiro also said that ear wax is important in protecting the inside of our ears as it keeps insects out. The wax also helps lubricate the ear.
It’s not a bad thing to have wax, but individuals should never take the wax out themselves.
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The History of “Q-tips” cotton swabs
In 1923, Leo Gerstenzang’s wife used a toothpick with a cotton stuck in the end to clean their baby’s ears. Gerstenzang, then, had conceived the idea of the Q-tips cotton swabs and modified his wife’s innovation by using a wooden stick and putting cotton on both ends. Eventually, he replaced the wooden stick with a cardboard. With this new product, Gerstenzang started the Leo Gerstenzang Infant Novelty Company and called his product “Baby Gays”.
In 1926, Gerstenzang changed the name of his product to “Q-tips Baby Gays”. Adding the letter “Q”, which stood for quality. Although doctors do not advise using these cotton swabs, Q-tips has many uses which ranges from applying makeup to cleaning keyboards. The demand for the product increased through the decades and is still the market leader for the production of cotton swabs.