Avoiding Cotton Swabs for Your Ear's Sake
Posted by Hearing Northwest on November 28, 2014
Most people are surprised to hear that we don't recommend the use of cotton swabs to clean their ears. In fact, we recommend the opposite-- to not use them at all, for many important reasons. Not only is earwax, also known by the medical term cerumen, good to have, it can also pose many problems when not properly removed. In this blog we will discuss how cotton swab products can be harmful to your ears and hearing health as well as alternative options for managing earwax build up.
The first issue with cotton swabs is excessive usage. Without an ample amount of earwax, our ears become much more susceptible to debris entering. This can also lead to ailments of the canal due to dry skin or rashes. Additionally, aggressive usage of cotton swabs poses an equal threat to ear and hearing health. All too often, we see patients that have used cotton swabs in an attempt to remove earwax but, instead, actually pushed a good amount of it further down into the ear canal near the eardrum. In many cases, this earwax buildup can become impacted and very difficult and painful to remove. For many, impacted earwax blocks the passage of sound from the ear to the eardrum and can cause hearing loss complications. the impacted earwax also often breeds bacteria and fungi, causing irritating infections that can lead to hearing damage in some instances.
Instead of poking around your ear canal with a cotton swab, we suggest you follow these simple guidelines. Reduce the frequency of earwax removal to only a couple of times a month, at the most. To remove earwax, create a cleaning solution by combing vinegar, rubbing alcohol and water. Simply put a few drops of the solution in your ear to flush out bacteria. Then, to remove the solution and excessive earwax buildup, dab a towel around the outer part of your inner ear, resisting temptation to stick your finger deeper into your ear canal.
If you feel like you, or a loved one, may be experiencing hearing loss due to earwax buildup over the years, we are happy to help you. At every complimentary hearing consultation, we look inside of your ears for wax buildup using our video otoscope. if we determine there is impacted earwax, we will offer our affordable removal service to help regain your hearing abilities. Simply submit your information on our Contact Us page or call our office during business hours to request an appointment. We will respond within one business day.