A shocking new study has found that earbuds cause over 12,000 children to get hospitalized each year in the US.
According to the study, more than 263,000 American kids were sent to A&E after they injured themselves with cotton buds over the last two decades.
Likewise, previous research indicated that 7,000 people get injured due to earbud usage every year in the UK.
The injuries which are usually caused by earbuds include burst eardrums, loss of hearing, and loss of balance, the hospital reports revealed.
‘An injury that would lead to hospitalization would be a perforated eardrum, which is when the bud causes a hole to appear in the eardrum,’ Dr Simon Baer, a consultant ear, nose and throat surgeon at Spire Sussex Hospital, told the Daily Mail.
‘One particular danger appears to be falling over with an earbud in the ear,’ Dr Baer continued.
‘Earbuds could also cause damage to the little bones in the ear, these are known as the ossicles. In very rare cases damage to the stirrup, one of the small ear bones, can cause balance problems.
‘And in extremely rare cases, earbud damage can lead to total loss of hearing.’
A recent study by Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that 263,000 children were taken to hospitals for earbud-caused emergencies over a 21-year period from 1990 to 2010 in the US.
Breaking it down, it comes around 12,500 injuries each year, or a shocking 34 children a day.
According to the researchers, nine per cent of the injuries took place when children fell down while using a cotton bud in their ear and 10 per cent happened when children were playing with an earbud.
The rest of 73 per cent injuries resulted when cotton buds were used to clean the ears.
Breaking the data on the basis of who was using the earbud at the time of injury, researchers found that 77 per cent injuries happened when a kid was using the cotton bud by themselves.
About 40 per cent of patients were below three years of age while 67 per cent of the injuries happened with children younger than eight, according to the research published in the Journal of Pediatrics.
The study authors have warned that an earbud-related injury can cause damage to the eardrum, inner ear, or hearing bones, leading to dizziness, balance problems, and even irreversible loss of hearing.
Kris Jatana, lead study author from the Department of Pediatric Otolaryngology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, said: ‘The two biggest misconceptions I hear as an otolaryngologist are that the ear canals need to be cleaned in the home setting, and that tip applicators should be used to clean them; both of those are incorrect.
‘The ears canals are usually self-cleaning. Using cotton tip applicators to clean the not only pushes wax closer to the ear drum, but there is a significant risk of causing minor to severe injury to the ear.’
The best way to clean your ears, according to Dr Baer, is to leave them be. But those people whose ears produce an excess of wax should consult a doctor, he added.
‘Nothing larger than an index finger should ever be put in the ear,’ Dr Baer said. ‘Some people do produce excessive wax, and should seek treatment from their GP or a trained nurse.’
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