Earwax, despite what some of the grossest videos on the internet would have you believe, is a natural thing. It doesn’t mean your ears are dirty, and the wax doesn’t need to be removed, as the ear will handle that itself unless you have a problem. Or you could use swabs, and give yourself a pretty disgusting problem!
The American Academy of Otolaryngology, aka the guys who protect your neck, ears, and head, have kicked off the new year about how you’d expect ear surgeons to, with their recommendations for proper ear health. And they are really, really against sticking swabs in your ears. Why? Because of what they call “impacted cerumen” and what we’re going to call “a giant freaking rock of earwax in your ear.” Basically, as you jam things in there — and their guidelines mention swabs, paper clips, and car keys — you’re not only irritating your ear, you’re crushing your earwax down into a flat waxy scab of grossness. Do it often enough and the ear doctor has go in and yank this disgusting beast out of you.
So, your mom was right: Anything smaller than your elbow should stay the hell out of your ear. Earwax is naturally pushed out of your ear by your daily movements, like chewing, talking, and flexing your jaw, and that’s the way it should be. Besides, Q-Tips have a far nobler purpose, namely annoying the heck out of cats.