WHEN you’ve got a blocked ear, it can be tempting to shove a cotton bud inside to clear it.
But this grim video reveals exactly why you should avoid Q-tips at all costs.
Internet-famous consultant audiologist, Mr Neel Raithatha, known as The Wax Whisperer, has shared his latest procedure online.
The video, filmed on December 31, shows him removing a cotton bud from a patient’s ear after the top became lodged against his ear drum.
“He [the patient] suffers from otitis externa and was using the cotton bud in an attempt to relieve the itchiness and irritation he was experiencing,” The Wax Whisperer explained.
“The ear canal was heavily inflamed and it was not possible to insert a normal size suction probe inside.
“I therefore attached a finer suction tip to obtain access,” he continued.
“I managed to extracted the cotton bud enough to then use crocodile forceps to fully extract the cotton bud out of the ear.”
The award-winning medic operates out of his clinic in Leicester and this certainly isn’t his first rodeo.
In the past, he’s removed a twig, a tooth comb, a pen cap, an earbud, an earring, 22 hearing aid wax filters, a plastic clothes tag and an unidentified plastic object from patients’ ear canals.
He regularly posts videos on YouTube and the channel has garnered more than 120 million views and more than 150,000 subscribers.
And it seems this was just another happy customer in a long list of happy customers.
“The client was over the moon,” said Neel.
“He was due to go out on New Years Eve but felt he couldn’t due to the discomfort and pain experienced by having the cotton bud stuck inside his ear.
He was very grateful that I was able to help him at such short notice,” he added.
What is otitis externa?
Otitis externa is a condition that causes inflammation of the external ear canal.
It is often referred to as “swimmer’s ear” because repeated exposure to water can make the ear canal more vulnerable to inflammation.
Symptoms of otitis externa include:
- ear pain, which can be severe
- itchiness in the ear canal
- a discharge of liquid or pus from the ear
- some degree of temporary hearing loss
Usually only one ear is affected.
With treatment, these symptoms should clear up within a few days.
However, some cases can persist for several months or longer.
Most cases of otitis externa are caused by a bacterial infection, although the condition can also be caused by irritation, fungal infections and allergies.
There are a number of things that can make you more likely to develop otitis externa, including damaging the skin inside your ear and regularly getting water in your ear.
Getting water in your ear is particularly significant, because this can cause you to scratch inside your ear, and the moisture also provides an ideal environment for bacteria to grow.
Otitis externa is relatively common – it’s estimated that around 1 in 10 people will be affected by it at some point in their lives.
To help reduce your chances of developing otitis externa, you should avoid inserting cotton wool buds and other things into your ears (including your fingers), as this can damage the sensitive skin in your ear canal.
Experts have long warned that cleaning the ear with cotton buds are “potentially harmful and should not be used”.
They could push wax even further into the ear canal and even damage your eardrum, according to draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).
But figures have shown that nearly two-thirds of us use them regularly, and we get through nearly two billion every year.
Previously, we reported on a 31-year-old man who was left battling a deadly brain infection after using cotton buds in his ears.
The unnamed patient, from Coventry, had been experiencing nasty headaches and violent seizures before he eventually collapsed.
Brain scans revealed two pus-filled abscesses on the lining of his brain caused by a piece of cotton bud found buried deep in the canal.
It led to a bacterial infection known as necrotising otitis externa, which starts in the ear canal before spreading to the skull, where eats through the bone to the brain.
Instead, doctors suggest ear irrigation should be used to help those who are experiencing hearing problems due to wax build-up.
This involves an electronic machine safely pumping water into the ear to remove wax under the guidance of a GP.