Each year, about 12,500 children under the age of 18 are treated in US emergency departments for ear injuries related to cotton swabs, the study says. That breaks down to about 34 visits per day.
“This is not like brushing your teeth every day. Children and adults do not need to clean out the ear canal of wax as part of a routine hygiene practice,” said Dr. Kris Jatana, assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the Ohio State University and the lead author of the study.
The researchers looked at hospital visits between 1990 and 2010 and discovered that an estimated 260,000 children ended up in the emergency room with ear injuries. Of those visits, tears in the tissue that separates the ear canal from the middle ear, called the tympanic membrane or simply the eardrum, were the most common.