Ear & Balance

This why you should never dig your ear with a cotton bud!

February 1, 2020
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Dr Gan saw a patient, Mr A who complained of left ear blockage and pain for a month after digging his ear with a cotton bud. On examination, there was a tip of cotton bud stuck in his ear canal. This was removed in the ENT clinic under scope guidance. The surrounding ear canal was swollen and infected. It resolved after a course of antibiotic ear drops.





Mr A has been digging his ears for years and has had previous ear infections and ear blockage from an impacted ear wax. Little did he know that the ear canal is a self cleansing organ and does not need cleaning or digging! The lining of the ear canal is like a conveyor belt – wax and debris do get pushed out on its own with time. The cotton bud is meant for cleaning the ear just outside the ear canal (and not inside!). It is too big for use in the ear canal. If inserted into the ear canal, it will push any debris or ear wax deeper into the ear canal. This will result in an impacted ear wax against the ear drum or in some instances, injuries to the ear canal with resultant ear infection or injuries to the ear drum. So, the next time you are thinking of inserting a cotton bud in your ear, remember this video!



Earwax removal

A cotton bud is too big to be inserted into the ear canal. It will end up pushing your earwax deeper



If not careful, cotton bud inserted too deep into the ear canal can puncture the ear drum, damaging the middle and inner ear



    When Should You See an ENT Specialist in Singapore?

    • Any ear, nose or throat symptoms that you are troubled with or concerned about
    • Persistent blocked nose with mouth breathing or snoring

    Dr Gan Eng Cern

    Dr Gan Eng Cern is a distinguished ENT doctor with fellowship training. In addition to his clinical practice as an ear, nose and throat specialist in Singapore, Dr. Gan has contributed to the academic field as a Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore. He is recognised for his extensive research work, with numerous contributions to reputable international ENT journals. Dr Gan is also highly sought after as a speaker and has shared his surgical knowledge as a surgical dissection teacher at various prominent ENT conferences and courses.


    • 2020 – Reader’s Choice Gold Award for Best ENT Specialist (Expat Living Singapore)
    • 2016 – Best Educator Award (Eastern Health Alliance)
    • 2016 – “Wow” Award (Patient Compliment)
    • 2014 – Eastern Health Alliance Caring Award – Silver
    • 2014 – 19th Yahya Cohen Memorial Lectureship (awarded by the College of Surgeons, Academy of Medicine Singapore for best scientific surgical paper)
    • 2012 – Human Manpower Development Award (Ministry of Health, Singapore)
    • 2007 – Singhealth Best Doctor Award


    • MBBS – Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
    • MRCS (Edin) – Member of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    • MMed (ORL) – Master of Medicine in ENT (National University of Singapore)
    • FAMS – Fellow of the Academy of Medicine Singapore

    Why Choose Dr Gan Eng Cern


    Reliable & Reputable ENT Expert

    Experienced and patient ENT Specialist who has your best interests at heart. We aim to provide you with accessible and specialized care for any ENT condition in a comfortable setting.


    Friendly & Helpful Clinic Staff

    Our friendly staff will assist you to the best of our ability and we are happy to accept most insurance providers and assist with E-filing with relevant insurance providers or Medisave.


    Advanced ENT Equipment & Fully Equipped Facility

    Our ENT Specialist, Dr Gan Eng Cern, will be able to diagnose and offer personalised treatments for your specific ENT condition. You can expect a high level of ENT care in a spacious setting with in-house minor surgical, endoscopy, allergy testing and microscopy services.


    Financial Options

    There are various financial options available for you to ensure that you are able to receive the most optimal treatment and care. Our ENT clinic staff will be able to assist you with your medical insurance claims and work with your chosen healthcare organization to minimize the hassle and paperwork required. In some cases, you may be able to utilise the funds in your Medisave account to defray part of the costs of your treatment. As our clinic is accredited by the Medisave board, we are able to process your claims from your Medisave for certain clinic procedures.

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