The Truth about Cotton Swabs

Many people clean their ears with Q-Tips daily, not thinking anything of it. However, cotton swabs are the cause of numerous ear injuries each year. When used inside the ear in this manner, cotton swabs can push earwax back into the far reaches of the inner ear, causing damage to the eardrum. The eardrum is very delicate and can be easily ruptured by even the slightest pressure of a cotton swab. The eardrum will heal over time, but this damage can lead to conductive hearing loss.

Many people believe cleaning their ears with cotton swabs and other devices helps them maintain good hygiene. In reality, our bodies have natural processes that allow them to heal and clean themselves. Our ears expel earwax from the inner ear, which then collects in the outer ear. Therefore, cleaning the outer ear with a cotton swab is usually sufficient.

q5-298x300In point of fact, there is no need for cleaning the inner ear with a Q-Tip in this way. During showers, the amount of water that enters the ear canal can loosen the wax that has accumulated.

If you suffer from wax build-up, you can always consult your doctor at Alexandria Otolaryngology Associates, who can eliminate the possibility of infection. Your doctor may suggest medicated eardrops, which allow for the breakdown of earwax inside of the inner ear without harming the ear. If you need more information, or if you’re interested in getting your ears cleaned in-office, give us a call at (318) 443-8380.