Ear cleaning (yourself): Never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear! Wax is not formed in the deep part of the ear canal near the eardrum, but only in the outer part of the canal. So when a patient has wax pushed up against the eardrum, it is often because he has been probing his ear with such things as cotton-tipped swabs (such as Q-Tips), bobby pins, or twisted napkin corners. Such objects only serve as ramrods to push the wax in deeper. Also, the skin of the ear canal and the eardrum is very thin, fragile and easily injured. The ear canal is more prone to infection after it has been whipped clean of the "good" coating type wax. In addition, we have seen many perforated eardrums as a result of these efforts.