To swab or not to swab. That is the question.

Were you ever told “Never put anything smaller than your elbow into your ear”? Although this is sage advice, we still hear the question, “Is it ok to clean my ears with cotton swabs”? Here are reasons why putting a swab into your ear is not always the best choice.

Using cotton swabs dries out natural secretions. Glands in the lining of the ear canal produce a substance to lubricate the skin which also allows for elimination of dead skin and protects the ear from foreign objects. Over use can create dryness which may lead to itching. If you have itchy ears and using cotton swabs is part of your daily routine, try backing off a bit to see if this gives you relief.

Most of us feel a sense of accomplishment when there’s actually something on the end of the swab. This may come as a surprise, but you may be pushing in as much wax as you are pulling out. Eventually you may end up with a plug of wax that will block your hearing. When we examine ears, it’s common to see an indentation of the swab imprinted in the wax deep in the canal.

A final concern is potential damage to the eardrum. The most common scenario is when another person unknowingly enters the bathroom and the swab gets pushed in too deep. If you’re looking for a bloody ear that’s a sure way to get one.

Schedule an appointment to see your Physician or Audiologist and get your ears checked for wax. We can safely clean your ears. It’s our job to make sure that your ears stay clear and healthy.