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Don’t Put Anything Smaller Than Your Elbow in Your Ear!

It turns out that your mother was right, as usual. There is a direct association between using cotton swabs to clean your ears and ruptured eardrums, according to a recent study.

When you clean your ears with a cotton swab, you risk damaging your ear drum if the swab goes too far into the ear. The study shows that more than half of the people who visit ear, nose and throat specialists (ENTs) confess to using cotton swabs to clean their ears.

A ruptured eardrum, also knows as tympanic membrane perforations (TMP), is a tear in the tympanic membrane, which separates the outer ear from the inner ear. A ruptured eardrum may be accompanied by sharp pain, an earache, ear drainage, ear ringing or buzzing or even hearing loss. In severe cases, vertigo and facial paralysis can occur.

A ruptured eardrum can lead to discomfort, and even though the study showed that most cases healed on their own within two months, surgery can in some cases be required.

Alternative ways to clean your ears.

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

  1. Mix equal amounts of cool peroxide and hot tap water. Allow the mixture to reach body temperature and then gently irrigate the ear. No more than twice a month.
  2. Mix one part plain vinegar and one part water and use four or five drops once a week.
  3. Try an over-the-counter ear wax removal product and follow the directions carefully.
  4. Make an appointment with a doctor to have ear wax removed

The study was carried out by researchers fromHenry Ford Hospital. In the study, the researches examined the medical records of 1,540 patients who suffered from ruptured ear drums between 2001 and 2010.

About Adam Bernstein

Adam Bernstein is the owner of The Hearing Professionals, Milwaukee's premier hearing healthcare facility. As the owner of The Hearing Professionals, Mr. Bernstein has over 20 years of experience in the hearing healthcare industry. He began his career in 1995 at GN Danavox, one of the largest hearing aid manufacturers in the world. After leaving Danavox, Mr. Bernstein opened two hearing healthcare offices in Chicago, IL. In 2001 he moved to Milwaukee, WI and opened The Hearing Professionals. In 2008 he added a second Wisconsin office in the town of Brookfield. Today The Hearing Professionals is the largest private audiology practice in SE Wisconsin. Mr. Bernstein has written numerous articles on hearing healthcare which has appeared in newspapers throughout the country and has been interviewed by news programs regarding advances in the hearing industry. Mr. Bernstein a member of Unitron’s Customer Advisory Board and a graduate of The University of Minnesota. You can email him at and you can visit The Hearing Professionals at

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