Cotton Swabs: Good or Bad?

You’ve heard the back and forth on the subject for years. Cotton swabs: good or bad? The improper use of cotton swabs can lead to severe damage and even hearing loss! So how do we stay hygienic while keeping ears healthy? Read below to find out more about cotton swabs and your ears.

Is earwax a sign of poor hygiene?

For many years people have operated under the preconceived notion that ears are dirty. With the combination of dirt, dust, and grime our ears produce what is commonly known as earwax. This is a natural process of the human body and is not a sign of poor hygiene. Research shows that using a cotton swab to clean your ears has the potential to cause damage, of which most people are unaware. 

If it’s smaller than your elbow, don’t stick it in your ear.

You have heard it before, and your doctor will say it again. While many people use cotton swabs to clean the inner ear, this process can be dangerous. Using a swab on the inner ear pushes wax further into the ear canal. This can damage and potentially rupture the ear drum. Swabbing can also leave the ear vulnerable to infection.

How can I keep my ears clean?

Research from the American Academy of Otolaryngology shows that the best process for treating earwax is simple. To keep ears healthy, simply leave them alone! The ear has a natural process by which it expels wax from the inner ear into what is visible on the lobe and outer ear.  A cotton swab may be used to clean the visible wax from the outer ear canal and lobe.

To ensure that ears are healthy, stick to using a cotton swab in the outer ear canal only. If wax buildup persists, consult one of the doctors at Alexandria ENT to eliminate the possibility of an infection.