Don’t Buy It Until We Try It: Smart Swab

Published: Oct. 14, 2016 at 4:35 PM CDT
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Ear wax is one of those yucky substances that actually does good things for our body. Cleaning our ears or removing our wax often means a cotton swab in your ear canal.

The Smart Swab is a flexible rubber device that says it can remove ear wax, without going too far in your ear.

Dr. Thomas, an ENT specialist at Trinity Health isn't sure that's a good thing.

"I felt like by making sure it won't go too far down in the ear canal, it probably wouldn't work because of how short it was. I think the length is a good safety feature, but it probably keeps it from being effective," Dr. Thomas said.

The Smart Swab says just a quick turn will remove built up ear wax, but that was not the case.

"When we started using it. I felt like it wasn't effective at getting rid of the wax. It wasn't getting far enough down in the ear canal to remove all the wax, and therefore wasn't helping," Thomas said.

And the use of products like the Smart Swab may not be as necessary as you think.

"The majority of patients don't need to remove their ear wax. The only time you need to remove your ear wax is if it is building up too much, if you're having a plugged feeling or if your hearing is decreasing," Thomas said

And if that does start to happen, don't even think about picking up a cotton swab says Thomas.

"As an ENT, I am very much against the use of Q-tips. Like your grandmother probably told you, you don't want to use anything smaller than your elbow in your ear," Thomas said.

So the Smart Swab gets a thumbs down.