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Hearing & Balance Doctors is currently open. We are taking special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including offering a curbside service for hearing aids. Please call 435-688-8991 for more information. Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031
Hearing & Balance Doctors is currently open. We are taking special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including offering a curbside service for hearing aids. Please call 435-688-8991 for more information. Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031

What Your Q-Tips Could Be Damaging

What Your Q-Tips Could Be Damaging
Millions of people use Q-tips—also called cotton swabs, cotton buds, cotton applicators, or similar names for the piece of cotton on a stick used for personal hygiene. However, these applicators are not supposed to be used to clean your ears, as there is a high risk of damage and permanent hearing loss by using Q-tips in your ears.

How Q-Tips Can Damage Your Ears And Hearing

Earwax lubricates and protects the ear canal, which is why audiologists recommend you leave your earwax alone. The body is designed to remove extra wax with the motion of the jaw to naturally get rid of excess dried earwax. But, by removing your earwax with Q-tips, you could damage your ears and hearing in several ways.

  • Impacted wax – By cleaning ears with cotton swabs and other small items, you can push ear wax deeper into the ear canal into places it doesn’t belong. This pushing can cause your earwax to compact into a hard ball and leave you feeling plugged up, and you may experience temporary hearing loss.
  • Dry, itchy ears – Often, inserting cotton swabs into the ear causes the itch instead of helping the problem. This removes natural lubrication, causing dryness. Dry skin worsens the itch in the ears, so individuals will stick the cotton swab in the ear to scratch the itch.
  • Infection – Scrubbing at your ear canals with Q-tips can not only dry out your ears, but the constant rubbing can lead to small tears that bleed and get infected. If an ear infection results, you will need medical intervention to prevent the infection from damaging your hearing permanently.
  • Ruptured eardrum – It is possible to push a cotton swab deep enough into your ear that you perforated your eardrum, rupturing it. Not only is a ruptured eardrum incredibly painful, but it will cause conductive hearing loss. Depending on the extent of the damage, it may be repairable with surgery.

Safe Ways To Remove Excess Earwax

Just because you shouldn’t remove the excess earwax in your ears on your own doesn’t mean there are no safe removal options. Instead, there are two main ways that you can ease your earwax-filled ears.

First, you should see your local doctors of audiology. They will be able to assess if there is too much earwax or if you should leave it alone. If there is an excess of earwax, our doctors of audiology can professionally remove the wax safely.

Depending on your level of impaction, they may use a curette to manually scoop out the earwax. Audiologists can do this removal safely as they can use specialized tools to ensure they stay away from your eardrum and don’t apply too much pressure.

The other method is irrigation, where our doctors of audiology use a special solution to gently loosen and wash away your earwax. If it is determined that your earwax can be taken care of at home, our audiologists can provide you with a similar solution so that you can gently remove your earwax at home.

Have Your Excess Earwax Removed By Doctors Of Audiology

If you would like your ears professionally cleaned, or need recommendations on what earwax softening solution you should use at home, feel free to contact us. We are happy to answer what we can and set up an appointment to meet with one of our doctors of audiology.

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