cotton bud user

Cotton buds, the truth!

I don’t want to alarm you, but 7000 PEOPLE were hospitalised by cotton buds (Q-tips) last year and this epidemic could be coming to a town near you soon. There’s no need to over react but we all need to know how to stop one of these innocuous looking instruments from destroying our lives. More people spent time in hospital due to cotton bud injuries than razor blade injuries last year and this is adding to the already debt ridden NHS crisis.

Our hospitals are in a huge amount of debt, and A&Es might be shutting in your town very soon. Injuries like cotton buds are adding to the increasing pressure hospital staff are under. Here are some of our worst;

  • Barts Health Trust – £50m DEBT
  • University Hospitals of Leicester Trust – £40m DEBT
  • Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals trust – DEBT £24m

The list could go on, and on and on, but I’m not going to add to your worries. I’m sure the UK government have it all in hand, I mean these are the guys we elected into power for the benefit of the masses. They must know what they’re doing.

According to some other people’s research, 36% of adults use cotton buds to clean their ears, even though most know its potentially dangerous. Getting one stuck in the ear is the most common and serious problem Regular use can lead to skin irritation, infection and even hearing loss.

I know this because I recently was involved in an incident with a cotton bud. Addict, is a strong word, but I do love the way the soft fluffy bit feels on the inside of my tiny hole. I realised I wasn’t the only one, because recently I actually had to visit the doctors due to hearing loss in my right ear.

So, it was mid February two thousand and fourteen and I’m enjoying what had become one of my favourite reasons for visiting the bathroom. As usual, I finished with the cotton bud, disposed of it in the bin, and walked out the bathroom triumphantly. Then an unusual sensation began to develop in my right ear. It was like an itch and I kept trying to pop my ear (by yawning, like when your on a plane) to stop the feeling. After a few hours the hearing loss started to kick in and no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t shake it. It didn’t matter how much I forced a yawn, I couldn’t hear anything. I was slightly panicked but I hate going to the doctors so I decided to sleep on it.

Four days later, nothing had changed and I decided to muster up the courage and go to the doctors. As soon as I walked into the doctors office, I told her the issue and she replied by asking me some basic questions. First question, ‘do you use cotton buds?’My answer ‘yes’. ‘Thats the problem’ she replied.

‘So how am I supposed to clean my ears’ I said

‘Your not supposed to, your ears will naturally clean themselves, event ually any excess wax will just fall out of your ears. Wax is actually beneficial to the ear and your inner ear should never be touched by a cotton bud.’

‘This is an outrage!Thats not right! I’ve been using cotton buds for years. How can they get away with selling them if they’re useless. Monsters’

‘We live in a democratic society, people have the freedom to do what they want. Thank God.’

Fair enough‘, as I listened carefully in my left ear, she told me the hearing loss was temporary, gave me some ear drops and I was on my way.

‘Before you go young man.’

‘Your hearing should return fully in a few days, and remember, STOP using cotton buds to clean your ears.’

On the way home I was in deep collective thought.

I felt silly.

I felt as if after all of these years I’d been lied to.

No way man. She was wrong.’

They sell them everywhere for gods sake. Boots, Tesco’s, even in my local corner shop. So I went home and did my research. Turns out she was right. When you excessively use cotton buds, its like taking wax off the surface of polished wood furniture. The wax is there for a reason, and it causes foreign bodies to adhere to it, preventing them from going further into the ear, and it has anti-bacterial properties.

The skin on the inside off your ear is sensitive, and the soothing sensation of a cotton bud can lead you into a vicious cycle of ear scrubbing. Some people do have excess ear wax and it usually runs in the family. The excess can be syringed with warm water and has to be carried out by a professional. Even the most experienced cotton bud user will tend to push significant amounts of wax into parts of the ear where it shouldn’t be resulting in hearing loss. You can imagine, the more you do this, the worse it gets.

I tool the doctors advice, even if I didn’t actually use the medication she prescribed, but I stopped using cotton buds altogether.

Two weeks later, I’m using again.

I know what your going to say, HOW COULD YOU!

After all you’ve been through.

But I’m weak you know.

I said to myself that day I got the news from the doctors, I would go home and throw them away. When I saw them, all piled up together in that glorious clear plastic box, I could hear them in my left ear whispering to me.

‘Don’t throw us away, what if you get that horrible dirty wax in your ears. No one’s going to love you with all that greasy slimy wax oozing out your ears.’

I couldn’t do it. I’ll keep the one box just in case. And here I am, with that aeroplane ear popping feeling in my ears after a week of titillating cotton bud use. But like with everything its about knowing your limits and I’m going to get up and take action. In about 2-3 days I’m going to throw every single one of those god-damned cotton ba****ds away!

Don’t be like me.


Be strong, using cotton buds is wrong.

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