i found some info...
i did a search to try to find info about this because i thought it sounded odd and here is what i found on some random thread:
"Putting cotton in the ears is an ancient practice in South India. Recognising that women who have given birth recently have reduced energy levels and are more susceptible to infections, Indians had always advised women to put cotton into their ears for 60 days after child birth. We still see many women with cotton in their ears in many hospitals in South India, even though doctors nowadays are not reecognising this be effective."
Then there were posts from lots of people saying how great it worked for them to relieve anxiety and help them sleep better. I would be really careful sticking anything in your ears
... (as my mom always said "don't put anything in your ear bigger than your elbow)
but this is what it appears to be for nonetheless.