Cotton Swab Concerns For Ears

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MEDFORD, Ore. — Before reaching for a cotton swab to probe your ears, health experts are warning you to stop immediately.

Most of us probably have or still use a cotton swab to clean out the inside of our ears, but a local doctor says sticking anything in your ear that’s smaller than your elbow isn’t just unhealthy, it’s dangerous.

Pamela Phelps, an audiologist at Imaginears, says the shape of our ears are not designed for cotton swabs.

“What you’re doing is pushing the wax further down in your ear and impacting the wax to a point where its more difficult to remove,” Phelps says.

Soreness, ruptures or, even worse, hearing loss can be the end result. Phelps recommends home remedies or see a professional who can get out the ear wax for you.

“You can buy over the counter, which comprises of some drops and some irrigation bulb,” Phelps says, “[or] we can suction it right out of your ear.”

The audiologist says most of the time, it’s fine to just leave your ear alone. That sticky, golden wax is actually good for you.

“It’s natural it protects us from all of the stuff in our daily environments,” explains Phelps.

The audiologist says she also treats at least one patient a week for hearing loss because they have so much wax in their ear. She recommends letting a professional doctor take care of it.