Don't stick these objects in your ears

October 07, 2014
Dr. Djalilian Hamid, UCI Health otolaryngologist

IN THE NEWS: Once again, mom's advice turns out to be correct: Don't stick anything sharper than your elbow in your ear.

People stick strange things in their ears, often leading to damage. UCI Health otolaryngologist Dr. Hamid Djalilian tells Men's Health, that even objects made for cleaning, like cotton swabs, can be dangerous.

Excess wax buildup is uncommon, and if it strikes — usually due to age or genetics — you’ll need the help of an otolaryngologist, not a cotton swab, said Djalilian, a UC Irvine associate professor of otolaryngology.

Consider these scenarios as motivation to quit Q-tips:

The most common problem with cotton swabs causing injury is actually when people leave them in their ear and walk around and forget that they have them in,” Djalilian said. What happens next? A guy goes to comb his hair or do something else with his arms, and he bumps the swab, pushing it in too far. Ouch!

Children have also been known to bump the arms of swabbing adults and people who swab their ears near doors can be injured when someone walks in and collides with them. If the swab goes in deep enough, it can fracture the tiny bones behind your eardrums that carry sound to your inner ear.

Read the Men's Health article ›

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