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Study: The Danger of Cotton Swabs

Posted By Communications Manager, Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Updated: Monday, May 15, 2017

Put down that cotton swab! A new study in the Journal of Pediatrics conducted by researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that approximately 12,500 children under the age of 18 enter and get treated by emergency departments ear injuries caused by cotton swabs each day.

About 34 children are seen for injuries related to the use of swabs. While many adults believe cleaning their ears is an important part of their hygiene routine, ear cleaning is not necessary.

Research was conducted by examining hospital visit data for 20 years (between 1990 and 2010). They discovered that 260,000 children arrived at the emergency room with ear injuries, consisting of tissue ears of the tympanic membrane and problems with the ear drum. Most of the damage was caused when children were tasked with cleaning their own ears.

Cuts in the ear canals, perforated ear drums and dislocated hearing bones are all causes of cotton swab use. These injuries can lead to hearing loss, dizziness or ringing in the ears.

The ear is a self-cleaning body part and there is no need to dig out ear wax. Simply wiping away excess wax when it reaches the outer ear is enough. Doctors recommend against using ear irrigators, candles and other home remedies, as well.

The study showed that 99 percent of patients did not suffer permanent damage, but those who did had permanent hearing loss.

Read more at CNN.

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