Ear cleaning (yourself): Wax is not formed in the deep part of the ear canal near the eardrum, but only in the outer part of the canal. Attempts at self-cleaning with cotton swabs, keys, pins, or other objects can impact wax deeper into the canal. This can also impair or damage normal eardrum function. Infection of the ear canal (otitis external) may result from skin damage to the ear canal.
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Last Editorial Review: 1/24/2017