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Q-tip gone too far: pain, hearing loss, bleeding
tcpereira posted:
Hi there,

Last night, my boyfriend accidentally inserted a Q-Tip too far into his ear. He instantly felt pain and hearing loss, but no damage was visible fromthe outside.

It's now been over 24 hours and his hearing still hasn't returned in that ear and when cleaning it out, there was dry blood.

Are these signs of a perforated ear drum? How long should he wait to go see a doctor? Are there any home remedies we could try?

Grateful for advice on this.

Rod Moser, PA, PhD responded:
No home remedies....other than finding those Q-tips and throwing them away. Q-tips should NEVER be used inside the ears -- a bad habit of his that most likely caused damage or a rupture to his eardrum.

Without examining him, there is really no way to determine how serious the eardrum injury is....a full rupture? Or, just inflammatory damage to this sensitive membrane from being poked? His hearing my be affected for a while, depending on the extent of the damage.

The right thing to do is see a medical provider now so his ears can be properly examined using an otoscope. Then, and only then, will he know the extent of the injury and how long he might be expected to having his symptoms. If the injury is extensive, he may need to see an ENT specialist.

Life is full of "experiences" so I hope this experience has taught him NEVER to use Q-tips in his ears in the future.

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