Over-clean your ears. Excessive cleaning may irritate the ear canal, cause infection, and even increase the chances of severe earwax impaction.
Put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear. Your mother was right! Cotton swabs, hair pins, car keys, toothpicks . . . these can all injure your ear. They can cause lacerations (cuts) in the ear canal, perforations (holes) in the eardrum, and/or dislocation of the hearing bones, leading to hearing loss, dizziness, ringing, and other symptoms of ear injury.
Use ear candles. There is no evidence that they remove impacted earwax, and candling can cause serious damage to the ear canal and eardrum.
Ignore your symptoms. Just because you shouldn't stick a Q-tip in your ear doesn't mean it's impossible for earwax to become a problem. Seek medical attention if you can't shake the feeling that you need to purge your ears.
Irrigate or try earwax-removing/softening drops if you have had ear surgery or a perforated eardrum, unless specifically cleared to do so by your otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat surgeon).
Forget to clean your hearing aids as the manufacturer and your hearing health professional recommend.
For the love of God, please stop sticking things into your ear
Doctors are updating the guidelines on how to mind your earwax. Spoiler alert: Q-tips and ear candling are still bad for you.