Beware – Cotton Buds May Do More Harm Than Good

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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