Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cotton swabs prove problematic for ear health

Date:
April 28, 2011
Source:
Henry Ford Health System
Summary:
A new study shows a direct association between cotton swab use and ruptured eardrum. The study also shows that in most cases the rupture heals on its own and surgery is only necessary for the most severe cases.

A study by Henry Ford Hospital shows a direct association between cotton swab use and ruptured eardrum. The study also shows that in most cases the rupture heals on its own and surgery is only necessary for the most severe cases.

"In the past, many otolaryngologists have wondered if surgery is really necessary to treat a ruptured eardrum. The results of this study show that 97 percent of cases healed on their own within two months, proving that most cases do not require surgery," says Ilaaf Darrat, M.D., an otolaryngologist at Henry Ford Hospital and co-author of the study.

The study is being presented April 29 at the Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meeting in Chicago.

More than half of patients seen in otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) clinics, regardless of their primary complaint, admit to using cotton swabs to clean their ears. But if the cotton swab is pushed too far in the ear canal, it can cause serious damage, including ruptured eardrum, also known as tympanic membrane perforations (TMP).

Severe TMP can cause facial paralysis and vertigo.

"If a patient is experiencing symptoms such as hearing loss, drainage, dizziness or abnormality in their facial movements they should see a doctor immediately to assess the possible ear damage," says Dr. Darrat.

Study co-author Michael Seidman, M.D., FACS, director of the division of otologic and neurotologic surgery at Henry Ford Hospital, recommends instead of cotton swabs, using these alternatives to clean the inner ear.

  • Take cool peroxide, hot tap water and mix equally. Be sure it is body temperature and gently irrigate the ear one or two times per month.
  • Take plain vinegar and water and use four or five drops in the ear once a week.
  • See a doctor, who can remove ear wax for you.
  • Try an over-the-counter treatment such as Debrox.

The Henry Ford study included 1,540 patients with a diagnosis of TMP from 2001-2010. Patients with a cotton swab injury were subdivided into two groups: observation and surgery. Successful outcomes were defined as healed TMP, resolution or improvement of vertigo, tinnitus or facial nerve paralysis, and/or closure of the air-bone gap.

A ruptured eardrum can be treated in one of two ways, depending on the severity of the symptoms. The most common method of treatment is observation of the perforation by an otolaryngologist because often times the eardrum will heal on its own within two months. More severe cases are treated with surgery.

While the study found that most cases or ruptured eardrum heal on their own, neurological deficits, such as facial nerve paralysis, require surgical intervention to repair the eardrum.

Surgical intervention proved very successful, with only one patient suffering mild, but improved vertigo.

Dr. Darrat and her colleagues concluded that proper follow-up with a doctor to test hearing after a case of ruptured eardrum is healed is essential to ensure that no hearing loss was caused from the injury.

The study was funded by Henry Ford Hospital.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Henry Ford Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Henry Ford Health System. "Cotton swabs prove problematic for ear health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110428151309.htm>.
Henry Ford Health System. (2011, April 28). Cotton swabs prove problematic for ear health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110428151309.htm
Henry Ford Health System. "Cotton swabs prove problematic for ear health." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110428151309.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle

Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) South Koreans eat more instant ramen noodles per capita than anywhere else in the world. But American researchers say eating too much may increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins