So why do I cough when I clean my ears?

Reading the other ear thread inspired me to ask this question…I’ve been wondering for a while.
I use Q-tips to clean my ears sometimes–usually because my ears itch deep inside. A lot of times, when I swirl that little swab in there, I feel a little “pull” in my throat, and it makes me cough. Weird.
I learned the hard way NOT to clean my ears when I’m in the midst of an upper respiratory infection–tried that a few months ago, and it induced an incredibly fierce coughing spasm that would NOT stop. I thought, truly, that I might choke to death right there in the bathroom with my little son patting me on the back and “coughing” in sympathy. :frowning: (My husband, a paramedic, was mightily impressed by the petechiae all around my eyes.)
So, what’s the deal? Does this happen to anyone else?


The Master Speaks

Yeah, I know. I hate it when people do that.