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Cotton Swabs – Helpful or Harmful?

Cotton Swabs – Helpful or Harmful?

Cotton swabs are a staple of many of our bathroom cabinets. They can be useful for applying or removing make up, first aid, cleaning, and even arts and crafts! Despite the variety of uses for cotton swabs, however, their most common use remains the same – cleaning your ears. But is this really the most effective way to keep our ears clean? Not at all! In fact, using cotton swabs in our ears causes more harm than good. So before you reach for a cotton swab with the intention of using it in your ear, consider the following facts:

Our Ear Drums are Fragile

Ear drums are very delicate, and a cotton swab can easily reach them! Even if you think you’re being “gentle” the ear drum can very easily be ruptured. This is very painful and can lead to ear infections and even hearing loss!

Risk of Impaction

You may think that a cotton swab is removing all the wax from your ear – but in reality you can be pushing the wax further into your ear. This can cause something called cerumen impaction – a build-up or blockage of wax that can cause pain, hearing loss or dizziness.

You May Not Need to Clean Your Ears as Often as You Think

We may think that to keep our ears healthy and hearing well that we need clean our ear canal. However in most cases this simply isn’t necessary. When we wash our hair or shower, enough water usually enters the ear canal to loosen the wax that has built up in your ear. Most of the time, wax will loosen and fall out on its own.

If You Have a Heavy Build Up of Wax

If you are experiencing a heavy build-up of wax – don’t reach for a cotton swab! It is much safer to take a trip to your doctor who can easily remove the build-up of wax safely. You may also consider using a product that helps loosen the wax in your ears so it can come out on its own, such as Clean Ears which can be purchased over the counter at our Norwood and Unley clinics. If this is something you’d like to try, feel free to pop in to one of our clinics or call us on 8331 8047.

We may think that using a cotton swab for our ears saves us time and keeps our ears healthy, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. It is not only unnecessary but harmful to our ear health. So let’s all do our ears a favour and keep the cotton swabs out of them!

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