Why Cotton Swabs Are Bad For Your Ear

Ear castingOh the pleasure of the forbidden!  Those things that you are not supposed to do are always so enticing.

The ears, for the most part, do not require any routine cleaning.  Ears are like a self-cleaning oven.  With the help of gravity and body heat, earwax will gradually find its way out.  If wax appears on the outer ear, a cotton swab may be used.  If you can’t help but go in farther, you are risking wax impaction or injury.  If you do get wax impacted in your ear, you will be in pain and half deaf.  There are over-the-counter preparations that can help relieve wax blockage but warm water in a syringe often works.  As a last resort you can see an ear doctor or come to the ER for a good cleaning.

It is not uncommon for us to see patients who have violated these rules and come to see us to remove the tip of the cotton swab that has fallen off inside the ear.  Don’t worry, we are prepared.  We also remove other things like cockroaches, beads, and pen caps, all of which we’ve pulled out of ears.

From: Why do Men Have Nipples? by: Mark Leyner and Billy Goldberg, M.D.