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The Dangers of Cotton Swabs for Your Ears

An audiologist can determine if you have impacted ear wax in your ears from using cotton swabs!

Often times, people view ear wax as something that is gross and unsanitary. Because of this, when people notice ear wax is in their ears, they may try to clean it out with a cotton swab. While this may seem like a good idea, cotton swabs can actually push wax further inside of your ear and cause damage to the canal. Here are the dangers of using cotton swabs for your ears.


Ear wax is supposed to be in your ears because it helps to trap any dirt and dust before it can enter your ear canal. Without it, dirt and debris would enter and block your ear drum, causing potential pain and hearing loss. It also protects your ears from any infections, viruses, and bacteria. In fact, ear wax is what keeps pesky critters from being able to crawl inside of your ear! It is made up of a combination of fatty acids, enzymes, skin cells, and alcohols that are made especially to protect your ear. As mentioned before, cotton swabs push wax further into the ear, preventing it from doing its job properly, which increases the risk of foreign objects getting into the canal as well as the risk of getting infections.

Hearing Loss

If you have made a habit out of cleaning your ears with cotton swabs, you may have ear wax jammed deep into the ear canal. This creates a blockage which in turns causes hearing loss. If you notice that you are suffering from hearing loss but can’t pinpoint a cause, you should make an appointment with your audiologist. They can determine whether or not you have impacted ear wax in your ear and can take the proper steps to remove it. Ear wax removal should only ever be done by a professional and never with a cotton swab. They have tools available that can safely remove excess ear wax without damaging the ear canal.


The ear is a very sensitive part of the body. Those who use cotton swabs know how painful it can be when you accidentally slip the swab a little bit too far down the ear. If a cotton swab gets pushed too far into the ear, it can cause severe pain and injuries. The most common ear injuries that occur from using cotton swabs are a torn eardrum or small lacerations and cuts within the ear canal. If young children are using cotton swabs and they are pushed too far into the canal, their hearing can be harmed at a young age, which will affect their hearing development as they get older.

Contact Bay Area Audiology Today!

If you are concerned about hearing loss or seeking hearing evaluations, tinnitus evaluations, or hearing aid assistance, our doctors are ready to help. We are passionate about helping all of our patients improve their quality of life through better hearing. We also believe that patient education is critical, so you won’t be lead through endless sales pitches at our office. If you are interested in hearing how we can help you hear even better, contact us at (410) 838-4327 or online. For more hearing tips and articles, follow Bay Area Audiology on Facebook,Twitter,Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

This entry was posted on Friday, November 30th, 2018 at 4:11 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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