Fear the Fireworks, For your Ears’ Sake!

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently issued its annual report of deaths and injuries involving legal and illegal fireworks for 2012. Fireworks can have a life-altering impact on consumers, including severe eye injuries, loss of limbs, hearing loss and even death.

Between June 22, 2012 and July 22, 2012, more than 5,000 consumers were treated in hospital emergency rooms due to fireworks-related injuries. The majority of those injuries occurred on or around the July 4th holiday.  An estimated 19% of these injuries were to the head, face or ears.

In these cases, injury to the ears can often cause a rupture of the tympanic membrane. Dr. Kenneth Deem of Tacoma, Washington sent in these images he captured with the CellScope Oto one week after a firework blast near the face of the patient.

Left ear of patient with Tympanic Membrane perforation due to firework explosion near face. Captured by Dr. Kenneth Deem with the CellScope Oto.

Left ear of patient with Tympanic Membrane perforation due to firework explosion near face. Captured by Dr. Kenneth Deem with the CellScope Oto.

Right ear of patient with Tympanic Membrane perforation due to firework explosion near face. Captured by Dr. Kenneth Deem with the CellScope Oto.

Right ear of patient with Tympanic Membrane perforation due to firework explosion near face. Captured by Dr. Kenneth Deem with the CellScope Oto.

The 47 year old man had a “large bottle rocket” exploded near his face. He had a mixed hearing loss in both ears with a 10-20 decibel conductive hearing loss, Deem says.

In CPSC’s report, about 1,000 reported injuries involved sparklers and bottle rockets, fireworks that are frequently and incorrectly considered safe for young children. According to the above mentioned report, 30% of fireworks injuries happened to children under 15 years of age.  So, keep your children , yourself and your ears safe by avoiding fireworks.

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