Why you should never use a cotton swab to remove earwax

There are people who scoop out earwax with a cotton swab as a daily habit. This is to relieve the itchiness caused by earwax or if you feel you have hearing problems due to earwax buildup.

In particular, decreased hearing does not simply mean difficulties in daily life. It can make social interaction difficult and can even be a matter of life or death. For example, if you are about to cross the street and suddenly you don’t hear the sound of a car, what would be the impact? People with hearing impairment always face these challenges.

One of the frustrating things about getting older is that you often have difficulty communicating in crowded places, such as on a moving train. Several people gather together and talk, but they only understand a few words and end up smiling and nodding. It is a depressing experience of being isolated from majority conversation.

If this problem is caused by earwax buildup in the ears, there may be a way to get rid of the problem immediately. There are quite a few people who struggle with hearing loss and unexpectedly discover that part of the problem is due to earwax.

Earwax is secreted by glands in the skin that line the ear canal. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, earwax is a normal substance made by the body and has an important function in protecting the ears. Earwax is acidic, so it prevents bacteria and viruses from entering and helps moisturize the ear. It also protects the bones and cartilage attached to the external auditory canal. The old earwax that is formed gradually moves outward and is easily washed out.

If you dig out too much earwax without knowing this fact, it can irritate the earwax glands and increase earwax secretion. Moisturizing power may decrease and it may become more itchy than before.

However, for some people, this mechanism may be flawed. Earwax builds up and eventually blocks the ear canal. Some patients regularly remove earwax that clogs their ears, once every few months or every year.

If you don’t remove earwax, you can face three스포츠토토 risks: According to a survey by the UK’s National Institute for the Deaf, 73% of hearing impaired people experienced hearing loss due to earwax, and 37% experienced tinnitus.

The second risk is infection. Hearing impairment may occur if water enters ears clogged with earwax while showering, bathing, or swimming. The warm, moist environment inside a clogged ear is optimal for bacteria to multiply, which can lead to infection if not treated promptly. In rare cases, a middle ear infection can cause a perforated eardrum and even lead to sepsis or meningitis (where the infection can rupture into the brain).

The third risk is ear damage caused by a blocked ear canal when the patient attempts to unclog the ear on their own.

There is a high possibility that you will injure your ear canal while trying to remove the clogged earwax using a cotton swab. An audiologist said, “If you try to lift earwax with a cotton swab, you may actually push it deeper into the ear canal. The skin tissue inside the ear is thin, so even small external stimuli can easily cause injury and inflammation.”

In particular, digging out earwax after bathing is more dangerous. This is because even a soft cotton swab can cause abrasions if the delicate skin inside the ear is irritated while the skin inside the ear is soft after a bath. If this wound becomes infected with bacteria, there is a risk of acute otitis externa. Therefore, be careful not to insert cotton swabs or earpicks too deeply into the ear.

The eardrum is a very thin membrane of 0.1 mm, so it can be easily torn by a mild impact, causing a hole in the eardrum, or ‘perforation of the eardrum.’ If a perforation occurs in the eardrum, long-term hearing loss may occur, as sound can no longer be transmitted to the auditory nerve.

If earwax clogs your ear canal or you have a constitution that produces a lot of earwax, it is advisable to visit the hospital frequently to have the earwax removed safely. The American Academy of Otolaryngology recommends that you always visit a hospital specialist if you have trouble hearing, feel your ears are full, have pain in your earholes, or are bleeding. Even if your ears are itchy, it is recommended to brush the outside of the ear by stroking it, or to gently remove the outer ear with a clean cotton swab.






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