We here report a relatively rare case of traumatic injury of the tympanic membrane caused by a sticky-tipped applicator as well as some characteristics of this sticky-tipped applicator that were examined experimentally. This rare case was very unusual in that the injury was caused by external force applied from the medial to lateral direction during very careful cleaning (no unexpected force). Although removal of cerumen by a sticky substance seems to be an excellent idea, the present case shows that the stickiness that facilitates removal of the cerumen may be dangerous for thin, dry skin such as the tympanic membrane. Actually, the experimental considerations indicated that the stickiness was affected by the surface condition of the objective: soft, dry conditions increase it, while on the contrary, moist, dusty and oily conditions reduce it. The stickiness of the applicator, which was adjusted to use in the ear canal with an oily surface, appeared to be too large for a dry tympanic membrane. It is recommended that the sticky substance should be removed from the tip area or reduced by application of oil or powder before use.
- Sticky-tipped applicator
- Traumatic ear injury