Should you clean your ears with cotton buds?

Cotton buds are often misused.
Last update on Jun, 21, 2021

Proper ear hygiene is a topic often surrounded by doubts and uncertainties. Ensuring cleanliness of the ear is essential to avoid hearing problems, at the same time it is important to preserve the delicate internal parts of the ear .

For almost 100 years, the cotton swab has been used to get rid of excess earwax. Did you know that the cotton swab was born in New York in 1923? If the earpick has been known since ancient times, the so-called cotton swab, filled with a small, soft and disposable cotton ball at each end, has become a must in our bathroom in a matter of decades. Yet the opinion of specialists is almost unanimous; the use of cotton swabs can be dangerous for our hearing! What if we told you that the ear is able to independently deal with the cleaning of its internal sections?

Can cotton buds be bad for the ear?

Misused cotton swabs can cause the opposite of the desired effect, namely an ear plug, by pushing earwax to the bottom of the ear canal. Its repeated use can also cause ear infections. If the cotton swab is inserted too deep into the duct, it can cause the perforation of the eardrum, causing pain, tinnitus, or even long-term hearing loss. It is particularly important to take care when using cotton buds for babies since their ears are more sensitive.

Ear bleeding after cleaning with cotton bud

Although it is important to avoid the accumulation of ear wax, you must be careful about how to clean the ears to avoid problems. Cotton swabs can be fine for cleaning the outer ear, while they represent a real risk for the inner ear. The ear canal, which has very delicate skin, can be scratched by the swab favoring infections inside the ear. In addition, the stick can push the ear wax inside the ear canal, favoring accumulation which, as we have said, should be avoided.

The stick could also damage the delicate structures of the middle and inner ear, causing redness and bleeding. As we have said, ear bleeding could also indicate perforation of the eardrum, in which case an ENT doctor should be consulted immediately.

How to clean your ears without cotton buds

To ensure normal daily cleaning of your ear, washing the outside with soap and water is sufficient, which adds to the natural cleansing action that the organ is able to guarantee in total autonomy. For cleaning the ear canal, there are specific seawater-based sprays sold in pharmacies. Safe, they can clean our ears to prevent possible earwax plugs, while preserving the eardrum. In the event of hearing discomfort, do not hesitate to book a free and personalized hearing assessment at an Amplifon center. Our hearing care professionals will be able to establish a precise diagnosis of your situation. 

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