General Question

trumi's avatar

Does using a cotton swab in your ear tickle your throat?

Asked by trumi (6491points) April 5th, 2009

I know I’m not supposed to use a cotton swab, AKA a Q-Tip, to clean out the ear canal, but I still do on occasion. When I do, it often tickles the back of my throat and makes me cough. Is this strange? Has it ever happened to you?

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10 Answers

jbfletcherfan's avatar

This doesn’t happen to me, but it does my daughter. I’ve always laughed at her about it. It only happens in her right ear.

hearkat's avatar

There is what is called the “cough” reflex in the ear, just past the cartilage where the ear canal passes through the skull.

1) You shouldn’t be putting anything in your ears.
2) If you do choose to use swabs in your ear, you should NEVER go so deep as to stimulate that nerve—that reflex is there as a protective mechanism because you are too close to the eardrum.

P.S. I am an Audiologist.

Trance24's avatar

Yes this happens to me as well!

@hearkat Wow thats good to know…

cak's avatar

I’ll tell you the same rule I tell my son. If it’s smaller than your elbow, it doesn’t go into your ear.

Now…listen to @hearkat – a true professional! :)

casheroo's avatar

Sometimes, it freaks me out and I stop.
@hearkat, thanks for that info!

Benny's avatar

@hearkat is right. I’ve seen one perforated eardrum, and a lot of concrete-like wax from overaggressive q-tips. Don’t put anything in your ear smaller than your elbow.

Milladyret's avatar

Ashamed to say this with an audiologist in the ‘room’, but yes, I do use Q-tips and yes, I sometimes get that tickling feeling in the back of my mouth, making me cough

Don’t tell anyone

5lisadianne's avatar

Yes it definitely does but I kind of like the tickle! It’s weird b/c right now my ears feel ticklish inside just thinking about it.

lukiarobecheck's avatar

Oooo but it feels soo good to Q Tip your ears. @hearkat, you just had to be the spoil sport didn’t you? ;-)

hearkat's avatar

Like most of you, I was raised with my mother digging in my ears with swabs on a regular basis, and I had to “kick the habit” myself. I scrub my ears with the same Buf-Puf and cleanser that I use for my face, and dry them vigorously with my fingertip and a towel. That is as much as we are supposed to do.

I find that my ears itch less often now than they used to. We make the itching worse with cotton swabs, because we are removing the ear’s protective coating of wax and then abrading the thin, delicate skin in the ear canal with the cotton fibers. As those microabrasions heal, they itch.. so people go at it even harder with the swabs, and the cycle continues…

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