Beware – Cotton Buds May Do More Harm Than Good

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Using cotton buds to clean ears may seem harmless, but they have the potential to cause minor to severe injury to the ear, researchers have warned.

‘The two biggest misconceptions I hear as an otolaryngologist are that the ear canals need to be cleaned in the home setting, and that cotton tip applicators should be used to clean them; both of those are incorrect,’ said Kris Jatana of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, US.

A study conducted by Nationwide Children’s Hospital researchers found that over a 21-year period from 1990 through 2010, an estimated 263,000 children younger than 18 years of age were treated in US hospital emergency departments for cotton tip applicator-related ear injuries — that is about 12,500 annually, or about 34 injuries every day.

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