Specialists in Earwax Removal

James David Hearing Care – Hartlepool’s leading ear wax removal specialist

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Should I use cotton buds in my ears?
Absolutely not...here's why.

Should I use cotton buds in my ears?

“Should I use cotton buds in my ears?” is a question we get asked a lot. It’s common practice for many people, but did you know that it can actually be harmful to your ears?

Now, I know that you get a little bit of wax out, and I also know that sometimes using them feels great (read my post on why that is, here) but they are a hazard on so many levels…

 

WHY EAR WAX IS GOOD FOR YOU

Let’s start with the basics. Earwax is a natural substance that helps to protect and lubricate the ear canal. It’s a lovely mix of dead skin, fat, oil and sweat, and it serves an important purpose by helping to protect your ears from infections and other nasties. Most of it will be removed from the ears naturally by your body in tiny particles you never really see and, on occasion, you find a bigger bit staring up at you from your pillow when you get out of bed. There’s usually no need to interfere with it.

 

HOW MUCH US TOO MUCH?

Some people may experience an excessive build-up of earwax, which can cause discomfort, itchiness and, often, hearing loss. In these cases it may be necessary to remove the earwax using safe and effective methods. Here’s a few you can safely try yourself. If problems persist then we offer earwax removal services that are tailored to your specific needs.

One of the most important things to remember is that cotton buds are not designed for cleaning ears. They are actually meant for other purposes, such as applying ointment or removing makeup. Take a look at your packet and it’ll usually say this somewhere in the small print.

 

HOW COTTON BUDS CAN MAKE A BAD SITUATION WORSE

     1. You push more wax deeper in your ears than you actually remove. When this happens it compresses and can become rock-like, making it almost impossible for the body to remove it and often difficult for medical professionals too.

     2. If you push it too far it can damage your ear drum. This can either be by making contact with the cotton bud itself, or by pushing hard wax onto your ear drum. This is very common as you don’t think you’re going deep with the cotton bud, but the wax you’re pushing is.

     3. Fibres left in the ear by the cotton bud can become a breeding ground for infection. I can always tell if someone uses cotton buds by the compression of the wax and by the sight of the small white fibres they leave behind.

 If you do use them to clean your ears, it’s important to use them correctly and not to insert them too deeply into your ear canal. You should also avoid using them altogether if you have any pre-existing ear conditions, such as a perforated eardrum or an ear infection.

 

COTTON BUD FAIL MAKES NATIONAL HEADLINES

Mark Shelton, an ex Hartlepool United player, made national headlines during his time at HUFC when a cotton bud became lodged in his ear canal, causing extreme pain and hearing loss. Despite his own attempts to remove the cotton bud, he was unable to do so and eventually sought medical attention. The cotton bud was eventually removed by a professional, though after a lengthy and painful period. He missed that days game and the incident serves as a warning about the dangers of using cotton buds to clean your ears. I regularly see issues like this one –  week in and week out.

 

WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE UNSURE

It’s important to remember that not all hearing loss is caused by earwax. There may be underlying medical conditions that require further attention. If you’re experiencing hearing loss, difficulty understanding speech or ringing in your ears, it’s important to seek professional advice.

Using cotton buds to clean your ears may seem like a quick and easy solution, but it can actually be harmful to your ear health. Let your body do it’s job and, if there is a build up causing you discomfort, then trust the professionals at James David Hearing Care to help you

Concerned about your hearing?

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James David Hearing Care – Hartlepool’s leading ear wax removal specialist