We are regularly warned not to use cotton swabs to clean our ear canals. Scofflaw that I am, I have done so for years, and I have miraculously avoided inflicting permanent damage upon my ears. Wax is only a minor concern; I mostly use the swabs to clean water out of my ear canals after a shower.
Where’s the option for only occasionally? Fact is, you’re not supposed to stick anything smaller in your ears than your elbow. I very very rarely use one to clean out the wax since apparently my cilia are fairly incompetent at shoving wax out. But it’s extremely rare, and I am concerned about damaging my ear, even by accident. I’m sure it’s happened, lots.
ETA: Bobby pins? Shudder.
Yes, I use them but only on the exterior now. I think I did feel a tiny pinge of pain once before by going too deep, but it was nothing like the guy on the commercial for the vacuum device that screams out like someone went into his ear with a screwdriver.
I don’t go all the way to my eardrum - I just clean the sides of my ear canal, so no pain, and I do remove some goopy stuff. That idiot in the commercial shouldn’t be allowed out in public without a keeper. I bet he’s married to the woman who can’t pour spaghetti from a pot to a strainer, and I bet his mom is the one incapable of using a blanke to keep warm…
I wear earplugs at night and the insides of my ears get really oily from that and it tickles, so I generally clean my ears every morning just to swab up the oil. I don’t go jabbing the q-tip towards my brain.
Fact is, this is just something adults tell kids so they don’t stick toys, rocks, sticks, whatever in their ears.
There’s nothing wrong with a competent adult using a cotton swab or similar item for aural hygene.
Also - we’re all well familiar with the ridiculous warnings various products have on their packaging to protect them from liability. That way, if someone shoves a cotton swab in their ear recklessly, hey - it’s on the box! Not our fault.
I clean my ears with them occasionally, probably once a month on average. I don’t routinely use them to dry my ears after a shower. I use a square of toilet paper, inserted with the tip of my pinky, to blot the excess water. I think this actually works better than using a Q-tip, and the fewer times you stick a Q-tip in your ear, the less likely you’ll hurt yourself.
When I do clean my ears, I stand with my feet spread wide (in case of an Earthquake, even though I don’t live in California any more), carefully insert the Q-tip in the center of the ear canal as far in as I’ll go, then clean while pulling it out. This way, any slip while cleaning won’t poke my eardrum, and any wax is pulled out, rather than pushed in.