The common perception that both adults and children need to clean their ear canal regularly, has been head-on challenged by a recent study, which has estimated that about three dozen children are admitted to hospital’s emergency wards every day in the U.S. Though cotton-tipped swabs have been in use for nearly a century, the reports of related injuries are being noted only now.
Toddlers More Prone to Cotton Swab Injury
One of the senior author of the study is Dr Kris Jatana, who is a pediatric ear, nose, and throat surgeon at the National Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Dr Jatana frequently encounters cases caused by cotton-tipped applicators, more so in children below three years than adults who have a stronger resistance. The study has concluded that about 40 percent of injuries is among the children below three years of age, while children below 8 years constitute 67 percent of the cases. The study has evaluated that 263,338 children under the age of 18 have been admitted to ER across the U.S. between 1990 and 2010 for cotton-tipped ear cleaning tools and nearly two-thirds of these injuries happened at home.
Perforated Eardrums Most Severe Injury
Tympanic membrane perforations as it is technically known, broken eardrums constitutes about 30 percent of the injuries, says the study, identifying the feeling of a foreign body in ear as most common case but broken eardrums as more severe complication. Soft tissue injuries caused 23 percent of the cases. Temporary hearing loss, which is similar to the feeling of having noice-canceling ear plug in the ear, is the most common case, typically caused by wax pushed too deep into the ear canal.
Ear canals are self-cleaning, the study assures, unless some medical condition or wax is pushed in with cotton-tipped swabs.