We’ve all likely stuck a cotton swab into our ears to clean them out when they feel clogged. Many of us avoid the packaging that says, “don’t use in ears,” and put one in there anyways. Cotton swabs don’t actually clean our ears, and although we may think they do, they actually cause more damage than help.
So, what are cotton swabs used for if it’s not for cleaning our ears? The many uses include removing makeup, applying spot treatments, wiping off nail polish on the skin, cleaning electronics or jewelry, touching up paint, and sharing chapstick. Your audiologist in Omaha, NE understands the purpose of having a healthy amount of earwax in your ear, and we can clean your ears correctly.
Below we’ll point out the damage cotton swabs can do to our ears, give you ways to clean your ears at home, and show you the importance of visiting an audiologist in Omaha, NE.
Potential damage of using cotton swabs to clean ears
Having earwax in your ear is not a bad thing. In fact, a healthy amount of earwax is necessary. However, you’ll need to get rid of some when too much builds up. Our ears see cotton swabs as a foreign body, and may react to it as such. Here are three ways cotton swabs can damage your ears:
Cotton swabs push ear wax deeper into the canal. You might think that you’re “scooping” out the earwax, but instead you’re pushing it even deeper in there, causing impaction. You can also cause temporary hearing loss or an infection later on by doing this.
Cotton swabs cause damage to the inner ear. Inserting a cotton swab too far can cause pain and injury to the inner ear. 73% of ear injuries are actually caused by ear cleaning with cotton swabs.
Cotton swabs can puncture your eardrum. Did you know that the smallest bones in the body are located near the eardrum? Stapes is a bone in the middle ear that allows sound to be transmitted to the inner ear. Using cotton swabs can send shock waves to the inner ear, thus causing problems with hearing properly.
Other healthy ways to clean your ears
We need wax in our ears, but when the time for cleaning our ears does come, it’s important to do it correctly. Our ears are capable of cleaning themselves, but sometimes they need a little help.
You can soften earwax by putting a few drops of baby oil into the ear. A few days after dropping oil into the ear, you can irrigate them using a bulb syringe to add warm water. Next, drain your ears by putting your head on each side and letting it drip out. Finally, use a clean towel to dry your ears.
Visiting an audiologist in Omaha, NE
Although there are several home remedies for cleaning the ears, it’s best to visit a local ear specialist for professional cleaning. Active Hearing Health is here to help. If you feel like you need to stick a cotton swab into your ears to clean them out, don’t. Instead, contact us, and we can perform a hearing test and cleaning. We want to ensure your hearing stays healthy so you can live your best life.