Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Emergency Care, ENT, JAMA / 21.12.2017

“Qtip” by Rafael Castillo is licensed under CC BY 2.0MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eric T. Carniol, MD, MBA Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Tympanic membrane perforations (aka "popped" or "burst" ear drum) is a common complaint of patients presenting to the emergency room, primary care offices, and otolaryngologist (ENT doctors) offices. These may be caused by trauma, infections, or other causes. As well, many patients will use qtips (cotton-tipped applicators) to clean ears and remove ear wax and are unaware of the potential harms of doing so. This study was designed to examine the cause of ear drum perforations as diagnosed in emergency departments in the United States. Foreign body instrumentation of the ear (qtips, hair combs, hair pins, needles, etc) were the cause of 61.2% of perforations. Cotton tip applicators are the single leading cause of traumatic tympanic membrane perforation in all age groups except young adults (13-18) and 19-36 year olds, in which it is the second largest cause (behind water trauma). Children less than 18 years old constitute nearly 2/3 of all ear drum perforations in the emergency department.