Ear & Balance
This why you should never dig your ear with a cotton bud!
February 1, 2020
Dr Gan saw a patient, Mr A who complained of left ear blockage and pain for a month after digging his ear with a cotton bud. On examination, there was a tip of cotton bud stuck in his ear canal. This was removed in the ENT clinic under scope guidance. The surrounding ear canal was swollen and infected. It resolved after a course of antibiotic ear drops.
Mr A has been digging his ears for years and has had previous ear infections and ear blockage from an impacted ear wax. Little did he know that the ear canal is a self cleansing organ and does not need cleaning or digging! The lining of the ear canal is like a conveyor belt – wax and debris do get pushed out on its own with time. The cotton bud is meant for cleaning the ear just outside the ear canal (and not inside!). It is too big for use in the ear canal. If inserted into the ear canal, it will push any debris or ear wax deeper into the ear canal. This will result in an impacted ear wax against the ear drum or in some instances, injuries to the ear canal with resultant ear infection or injuries to the ear drum. So, the next time you are thinking of inserting a cotton bud in your ear, remember this video!
If not careful, cotton bud inserted too deep into the ear canal can puncture the ear drum, damaging the middle and inner ear