Cotton Swab Controversy

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Oh, cotton swabs. In my opinion, a very underrated beauty tool and I hate to bring negative attention to my favorite eye makeup-corrector, but a new study has found a direct correlation between using cotton swabs to clean the ears and ruptured eardrums. Don’t freak out, according to the researchers, almost all of the cases of ruptured eardrums healed without surgery.

Over half of the people who visit ear, nose and throat doctors admit to using cotton swabs to clean their ears. Many of who, do not realize the act can damage the ear if pushed in too far. A ruptured eardrum is just one unpleasant potential result. A ruptured eardrum can eventually lead to tinnitus, and in severe cases, to vertigo and facial paralysis. With so many other uses for cotton swabs, I’m not worried about their longevity, but I do need a new way to clean my ears.

Study co-author Dr. Michael Seidman, director of the division of otologic and neurotologic surgery at Henry Ford Hospital, recommends these alternative methods for cleaning your ears:

• Mix equal amounts of cool peroxide and hot tap water. Allow the mixture to reach body temperature and then irrigate the ear-gently-no more than twice a month.
• Another idea is to mix one part plain vinegar and one part water and use four or five drops once a week.
• Make an appointment with a doctor to have earwax removed, or try an over-the-counter treatment to soften the earwax so it can be flushed out.

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