The 31-year-old patient was rushed to a hospital in Coventry after falling unconscious.
A man ended up battling a life-threatening brain infection after using cotton buds to clean his ears.
Medics believe that part of the bud got stuck in his ear for five years without any symptoms.
However one day the 31-year-old suddenly collapsed after suffering a fit .
He was rushed to the accident and emergency department at a hospital in Coventry after falling unconscious.
Doctors found that the patient had a bacterial infection, that started in his ear.
It then spread to the bone at the base of his skull, before infecting the lining of his brain.
One of the specialists, Dr Alexander Charlton, who was treating the man said he started suffering dangerous neurological symptoms.
The patient was rushed to hospital ten days after he noticed pain and and a discharge coming out his left ear.
He experienced headaches on the left side of his head, so severe they made him vomit.
Then he began to forget people's names.
However medics suspect his symptoms started years earlier - long before his collapse.
The patient said his earache began around five years before, and also suffered hearing loss.
He had been treated for severe ear infections in his left ear twice.
Dr Charlton's team sent the man for a CT scan to examine his brain.
It showed two abscesses - inflamed patches full of pus - in the bones at the base of his skull, next to his left ear canal.
It suggested to doctors that the infection had started in his ear, before spreading.
They diagnosed him with necrotising otitis externa, an infection of the soft tissue in the ear canal.
Surgeons operated to remove the infection and found the missing tip of the cotton bud.
It was impacted and surrounded in ear wax, suggesting it had been there for some time, Dr Charlton's team noted in a medical case report.
The patient was hospitalised for a week before taking two months worth of antibiotics to clear out the infection.
He was told never to use ear buds again.
Dr Charlton said: "At the completion of his course of antibiotics, the patient remained well with no neurological deficit and no ear symptoms.
"Most importantly, he is no longer using cotton buds to clean his ears."
And added they've been linked to ear infections, punctured ear drums and impacted ear wax.