Keep that Cotton Swab Away from Your Ears

Posted in: Hearing News  |  February 10, 2012 
Keep that Cotton Swab Away from Your Ears

Do you reach for the cotton swabs when you feel like your ears need a good cleaning? Don’t. Although Q-Tips are a common go-to for removing extra wax and residue, using them can lead to complicated medical issues, like punctured eardrums, super impacted wax and more.

Earwax, also known as cerumen, emerges directly from the ear canal. Everyone produces it at different rates, but typically, the excess is eliminated through movement of the jaw, from water flow during showers, or with natural outward growth of ear-canal cells. Earwax often falls out naturally during sleep.

Cotton swabs are long enough to reach the eardrum easily during cleaning, and even subtle pressure can cause it to rupture. Unfortunately, a ruptured eardrum can cause intense pain, bothersome fluid leakage and even conductive hearing loss.

If cotton swabs work against their intended purpose and compact earwax into the ear, then additional health problems can follow. Symptoms of excessive earwax include:

  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Ear pain or itching
  • Hearing loss

For most people, the best hygiene solution is simple: Wash the outer ear with soap, water and a washcloth. Avoid ear candling or prodding the inner ear with the fingers.

If you believe excessive earwax could be harming your hearing, then feel free to get in touch. What might seem like a simple issue can lead to lasting problems over time, and it’s best to consult a professional to avoid ear damage of any kind.