Cotton swabs are commonly used as a household remedy to clean out earwax from inner ears. Many parents use them regularly on their children. However, using cotton swabs to clear earwax can make matters worse, causing damage that leads to serious hearing and balance issues.
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Here’s why you should stop using cotton swabs for ear cleaning:
Earwax is Beneficial
Believe it or not, earwax serves an important purpose in the ear canal as it has properties that protect the delicate ear canal skin and protect against infection. Ears are self-cleaning and earwax naturally grows out of your ear and is washed away during bathing. If earwax isn’t causing symptoms that impact your hearing, it’s best to let it be.
Cotton Swabs Can Damage Your Hearing
Anytime you place a foreign object in your ear, there’s risk of damaging your ear canal and eardrum. It’s often difficult to know exactly how deep the cotton swab is in your ear, and one wrong move can lead to painful damage. Cotton swabs can also push earwax deeper into the ear, packing it against your eardrum creating hearing issues.
Cotton Swabs Increase Risk of Infection
Earwax acts as a natural lubricant. If you clean your ears out frequently, you may experience an itchy, dry feeling in your ears. Plus, the lack of earwax increases your risk of infection since its purpose is to stop foreign invaders from entering your body through the ear canal.
If you are experiencing ear pain or hearing issues from impacted or excessive earwax, it’s best to consult an ear specialist instead of treating it yourself. The team of physicians at ENT Associates of Savannah can accurately diagnose your condition and develop a safe treatment plan for you.