Cotton Buds: What is the risks?

Cotton Buds: What drives their usage?

People often use cotton buds to clean their ears because they believe it helps remove excess earwax and maintain hygiene. Additionally, the sensation of cleaning the ears may provide a temporary sense of relief or cleanliness. However, it’s essential to note that inserting objects into the ear canal can actually push earwax deeper and increase the risk of complications such as impacted earwax, ear canal damage, and infections.

Cotton Buds: Carries Several Risks

  1. Ear canal damage: Inserting too far into the ear canal can lead to abrasions, cuts, or punctures, increasing the risk of infection.
  2. Impact on earwax: Can push earwax deeper into the ear canal, leading to compacted earwax buildup and potential blockages.
  3. Risk of infection: If not clean before use or if they introduce bacteria into the ear canal, they can cause infections such as otitis externa (swimmer’s ear).
  4. Hearing loss: Continuous or forceful use can damage delicate structures within the ear, contributing to hearing loss over time.
  5. Tympanic membrane perforation: Inserting too forcefully into the ear canal can result in a ruptured eardrum (tympanic membrane perforation), leading to pain, hearing loss, and potential complications.
  6. Misdiagnosis: Cleaning the ears can remove earwax that protects the ear canal, making it difficult for healthcare professionals to assess the ear’s health accurately.
  7. Environmental impact: Contribute to plastic pollution when improperly disposed of, as they are often made with plastic stems.

Cotton Buds: Understanding Self Cleaning Mechanism

  1. Ears produce cerumen (earwax) to trap dust, debris, and bacteria, preventing them from reaching deeper into the ear canal.
  2. Jaw movements, such as chewing and talking, help to naturally push old earwax from the ear canal to the outer ear.
  3. Cilia, tiny hairs in the ear canal, assist in moving earwax towards the ear opening.
  4. The skin lining the ear canal sheds continuously, aiding in the removal of old earwax and debris.
  5. Avoid inserting objects into the ear canal, as this can disrupt the ear’s natural cleaning process and lead to complications.

So the Answer is:

Put down the cotton bud and book an appointment today. Our Ear Nurses are experts at ear wax removal. Professional ear cleaning by Registered Nurses Certified in Microsuction Ear Cleaning.

The image below is a patient who had used Cotton Buds to clean his ears!

Our Team of Ear Nurses assess and deliver microsuction to patients with history of:

•Ear Wax Blockages
•Ear Infections
•Foreign Body Blockages
•Crackling and Popping Ears
•Narrow Canals due to Surfer’s Ears
•Ear Trauma and Ear Drum Perforations
•Stapedectomy and Mastoidectomy history
•Hearing aids

Cindy Morris, Registered Nurse Education Coordinator