Instead of removing earwax from our ears, cotton swabs are just as likely to push wax up against the eardrum, causing it to become impacted and muffling our hearing. Doctors have warned us that using cotton swabs to clean our ears is not a good idea. In fact, the swabs can do a lot of damage. The longer an object is left in the ear, the harder it is to remove. Also, the longer an object stays in the ear, the higher the chances of infection. A visit to a doctor is needed if an object remains in the ear longer than 24 hours.