Ear & Balance
Guilty of ear digging with a cotton bud? You should watch this!
February 1, 2020
A Japanese man recently came to see me with a blocked right ear after ear digging with a cotton bud. He denied any pain or ear discharge following the incident.
On examination, the tip of the cotton bud that he used was seen stuck in his right ear canal. It didn’t help that he has benign bony growths of his ear canal (known as exostosis) resulting in a very narrow right ear canal. These growths usually occur in frequent swimmers (due to cold stimulation of the ear canal) or patients with a history of recurrent ear infections.
The cotton bud was removed with an ear forceps under endoscope guidance. Fortunately for him, no injuries of the ear canal or eardrum was seen. He was also surprised that the tip
of the cotton bud was in his ear! On further questioning, he mentioned that he has a history of frequent earwax buildup. I advised him to never dig his ears again and to use a wax softener on a regular basis. If this fails to clear his earwax, he should visit an ENT Specialist to have them removed using micro-suctioning (ear cleaning with a small suction tube under microscope guidance).
Dr Gan Eng Cern
ENT Specialist Singapore