Whenever we have irritation in our ears or feel like it is getting blocked, we bring cotton swabs or buds and try to clean our ears with it. The objective is to clear the earwax from the ear canal and that could actually bring some negative effects on your health. Using cotton swabs often can land you in trouble if you use it on regular basis. There is even a possibility that it can damage your ears and could affect your hearing ability. Using cotton swabs can result to a number of complications such as injury or ear infection. Since it is such a common problem, you should know about potential side-effects of overusing it.
Potential Side-Effects of Using Cotton Ear Buds
We spoke to Dr. Ramesh Ishwar, ENT Specialist at BNK Hospital, Pune to know about potential risks of using cotton swabs in ears everyday.
1. Potential Damage
Earwax is actually beneficial and helpful to protect our ears. It prevents infections and microbes from entering the body. It also prevents bacteria from reaching deep down into the ear that could cause a number of ear problems. Earwax can clean your ears naturally and can often be a boon to your ear health. Using ear swabs very regularly could actually damage your ears and result to damage of eardrum present in the bottom. Eventually this can affect your hearing and thus you need to be very careful while using cotton buds in ears.
2. Earwax Impaction
Using a cotton swab in excessive quantity could actually push the earwax deeper. This can actually impact your ears and result to build up in the ear. If the earwax goes deeper inside your ears, then the accumulation of earwax can actually increase and lead to unpleasant symptoms. You might have the following problems-
- Feeling of fullness
- Muffled hearing
Inserting a cotton swab can cause an injury in your ears. This is because the ear bud has a plastic or wooden stick that could injure your sensitive parts of the ear. Any sudden impact or poking could make the eardrum ruptured and thus it might cause negative effects on hearing purpose. Looking at a data from 2017, we found that around 70% of ear injuries that happen are somewhere related to cotton swabs or cleaning of earwax.
You might clean your ears thinking that it might help you maintain your ear health but on the other hand it could actually cause a number of infections. Earwax helps to trap the infection causing germs and bacteria in the form of wax. If you keep removing all the earwax using the swabs, then there are high chances that bacteria enter your ear canal. This could potentially cause ear infection and can result to problems associated with ears.
5. Foreign particles might enter your body
Ears are one major entrance that could be used by virus and bacteria to enter the body. If something goes inside your ear, then you might feel discomfort, fullness or pain in the ears. This could actually cause a hearing loss or sensitivity. You must tackle this issue as soon as possible in order to investigate on ear issues. Not just bacteria, there could be other particles and bodies that could enter your ear and result to worse conditions.
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How to Safely Clean Your Ears?
If you want to remove the excess earwax from the ears, then you can follow these tips-
- Soften up the wax by using a dropper to carefully add a few drops of baby oil, mineral oil and glycerin into your ears. This helps to soften earwax and excess wax can come out automatically.
- Irrigate your ear after softening the wax in ears. Use a bulb syringe to add warm water into the ear canal.
- Drain the water or any liquid, especially after taking bath, so that it does not increase chances of infection or swelling in the ears.
- Use a dry and clean towel to dry the outer part of the ear.
Picture Credits- freepilk.com