How to Get Rid of a Cotton Swab Stuck in Ear?

How to Get Rid of a Cotton Swab Stuck in Ear?

Having earwax in your ears is normal as it protects your inner ear. There are times when this wax starts accumulating in your ears and you need to clean them. Most of us prefer using tools like a cotton swab to remove this.

Unfortunately, these cotton swabs or your finger pushes the wax inside your ears making the buildup worse. Even the cotton swab gets stuck in the canal sometimes. So, How do get rid of a cotton swab stuck in your ear?

Let’s understand the right way of removing the swab along with ear wax.

Table of Contents

Part 1: How to Tell If a Cotton Swab is Stuck in Ear?

Sensation of Fullness

You must have noticed that you do not normally feel any heaviness or plugged sensation in your ear. Once a cotton swab gets stuck in your ear canal, it starts feeling heavy giving a sensation of fullness. In addition, the stuck cotton swab can make all the sounds muffled.

Hearing Changes

Normally, people hear all the voices as they are. However, a cotton swab in the ear can disturb the normal flow of sound through your ear thus changing the hearing sounds. Muffled sounds, and the sensation of something shifting in your ears as you move all are signs of a foreign body present in your ears.

Discomfort or Pain

A foreign body present in your ears can cause a feeling of discomfort. This foreign body sensation makes you want to scratch the inside of your ear. Unknowingly, people scratch the ears thus rupturing the ear drum and causing hearing loss and pain in the ear.


Tinnitus refers to the ringing sounds you hear randomly in your ears. The sound can also take the form of buzzing, hissing, whistling, or crackling. This makes a person feel uneasy but why it happens?

When something unusual is present in your ear, the pressure increases, and this buildup of extra pressure leads to tinnitus.

Part 2: What Are the Risks of Cotton Swabs Getting Stuck in the Ear?

Pushing the wax Deeper

The very first danger of cotton swabs getting stuck in the ear is that wax goes deeper into your ear. Imagine water present in a tube. When you add more water to the tube, the already present water will move forward. Similarly, once a cotton swab gets stuck it pushes the wax deeper. This makes wax removal difficult leading to the sensation of congestion.

Ear Canal Injury

The cotton swab itself is not dangerous as it has no sharp edges. However, if it is stuck in your ears, it rubs against your ear leading to any ear canal injury. Usually, people do not notice those small injuries and this is when things get worse leading to permanent irreversible hearing loss.

Perforated Ear Drum

The eardrum is a very thin tissue that aids in making the sounds audible to normal ears. Think of it as a real drum. There is a tiny flap on the drum that vibrates as you hit it, right? Now what if you keep on putting weight on it?

It will tear down. Similarly, the pressure exerted by the stuck cotton swab can perforate your ear drum causing pain, tinnitus, and hearing loss.

Part 3: How to Remove A Cotton Swab from Ear Safely?

Seek Professional Help

The most sensible action one can take is to seek professional help. When we try to get the cotton swab out by ourselves, we usually end up pushing it further ahead. Therefore, if you feel heavy, or hear any hissing sounds in the ear, contact a professional immediately.

They can rule out all the possible causes of your described symptoms and provide you with the best possible treatment.

Home Remedies

If you don’t want to go to a professional, just try these home remedies instead. Before that, ensure that it is a cotton swab that is causing discomfort and not any other ear condition.

  • Gravity: Tilt your head sideways with the affected ear in the downward direction. Now tug the swab out gently using your fingers
  • Warm water: Irrigation with warm water can also help in most cases. Use lukewarm water and squirt it into your ear using a bulb syringe. Now drain the water out of your ear. You can repeat the procedure till the cotton swab flushes out with water
  • Oil drops: Tilt your head with the affected ear in an upward direction. Pour some drops of warm olive oil or baby oil into your ear. Wait for a few minutes to let the swab soak it and now flush out the oil

Do not Try Risky Methods

Anything in our hands cannot be the solution to get something out of your ear. People try using keys, tweezers, matchsticks, and even wooden squeezers to remove plugged wax and cotton from the ears.

Unknown to them, all these methods are risky and can damage your ear drum. They can rupture your ear canal, damage the ear drum, cause an infection, or push the cotton swab towards your inner ear. So, avoid using such unreliable methods to keep your ears safe.

Part 4: How to Prevent Cotton Swabs from Getting Stuck in the Ears?

Learn the Role of Cotton Swabs

Use cotton swabs only for the right purpose. Knowing the role of cotton swabs and the dangers of using them the wrong way can help you prevent any injuries to your ears. They are wide as compared to the opening of your ear canal. When you use them to remove wax, they push it instead of pulling it out.

So, use only the wax removal kits or go to a professional for ear cleaning. A cotton swab can only help you clean the outer part of the ear.

Use an Alternative Ear Cleaning Method

Instead of using unreliable home remedies or plugging cotton swabs in your ears, try finding alternative wax removal methods. Should we suggest one? Try using the Bebird Note5 Ear Wax Removal kit. How to see cotton swabs stuck in your ear? Use this kit.

This kit comes with an Otoscope with soft silicon scoops. These scoops remove the wax gently while the otoscope helps you keep an eye on where the scoops are. The 3.2mm micro lens can easily penetrate the ear canal while the electronic gyroscope keeps the image stable.


A cotton swab is a foreign body professionals often find in ears as they are the most commonly used tool for ear wax removal. Once they are plugged into the ear, you will feel a congestive sensation in the ear along with unusual sounds.

If you do not remove the swabs at a time, they can cause ear canal injuries. So, to solve this, seek help from a professional or use water or oil to remove it gently from your ears. To avoid further problems, either go to a practitioner for cleaning or use tools designated for ear wax removal.

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