Have Q tip cotton stuck in your ear?  Learn how to safely remove it.

If you were cleaning your ears or your child’s ears with a Q tip or cotton swab only for the cotton bud to fall off and get stuck in your or your child’s ear and are now frantically searching the internet to figure out what to do, we’re here to help. Here are some tips on how to get cotton out of your ears.

Make sure the object is actually in the ear

If you have q tip cotton stuck in ear, then the easiest way to remove it is if you can see it. Looking in your own ear is difficult, but if you have an otoscope it’s easy to see into your own ear canal and locate a piece of cotton swab that might be trapped in your ear. Otherwise, have someone else look in your ear to confirm the presence of the object. If you can’t see the object but it feels like it’s in there then you might need an otoscope to look deeper in your ear canal. Digital otoscopes are an inexpensive and safe way to inside your ear canal.

Use gravity

One of the most basic methods how to get cotton bud out of your ear is to just use gravity. This method tends to work if you can see the object in your ear or if you can feel it moving around in your ear. Tilt your head to the side and try to shake the object out. Alternatively, the object might slide out or your ear canal far enough that you can grab it with your fingers and pull it out the rest of the way. You can gently shake your head to try to move it downward, but take care not to bang your head on something.

 Never stick anything into your ear to try to get an object out. Doing so could make matters worse by pushing the item deeper, lodging it in a more difficult place, or injuring your sensitive ear canal. Otoscopes can be safely used in your ear canal because they have a camera on their tip to see exactly what you are doing - use the camera to safely avoid the delicate parts of your ear canal or pushing the object deeper into your ear canal.

Use warm oil

If the object in your ear is an insect, you should turn your head so the affected ear is facing upward. Sometimes the bug will crawl out. If the critter doesn’t emerge, you can try warm oil to see if that helps the insect float out. Never stick fingers or other objects into the ear when trying to remove a bug. Doing so may cause the insect to bite or sting. It is essential to use this technique only if you are sure the object is an insect. That’s because other foreign things in the ear may swell in reaction to the oil, thus wedging it more firmly in place. 

When to seek professional help

If the object in your ear does not fall out on its own, you should seek medical attention. The sooner you seek help, the better, since an object left too long in the ear can lead to infection and damage to tissues in the ear, including the delicate eardrum. Additionally, see your healthcare provider if you experience any pain, discharge, or inability to hear well.

Next time, use an otoscope

If you have q tip stuck in ear the first step to removing it  from your ear is being able to see what you are doing and where the item is lodged. The best way to see something in your ear is to use a digital otoscope like the ones made by ScopeAround.

ScopeAround brought the first digital otoscope with camera for consumers to the market over five years ago so we have more experience and customer feedback to make the best digital otoscopes available.

We make a complete range of digital otoscope products including free-standing models to USB-connected, Lightning cable-connected, and WiFi-connected devices with an otoscope camera app for your mobile device. 


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