A new study says that increasing cell phone use is associated with the number of head and neck injuries in the United States, particularly with walking and texting.
A report in JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surgery says that the number of head and neck injuries related to cell phone use was found to have increased steadily over a recent 20-year period.
The study’s findings suggest that growing dependence on cell phones in modern life may require that steps be taken to educate and promote safe practices for using the devices.
According to the data, 2,501 patients presented with injuries of the head and neck related to cell phone use. The most commonly reported subsites of injuries in the head and neck region included the head (33.1% of estimated total); face, including eyelid, eye area, and nose (32.7%); and neck (12.5%).
The most common injury diagnoses included laceration (26.3% of estimated total), contusion/abrasion (24.5%), and internal organ injury (18.4%).
The data says that most injuries associated with cell phone user distraction occurred among individuals aged 13 to 29 years. In addition, those younger than 13 years were significantly more likely to sustain direct mechanical injury from a cell phone (82.1%) than to have a cell phone use–associated injury. "Many of these injuries occurred among those aged 13 to 29 years and were associated with common activities, such as texting while walking," the study said. "Our study’s findings suggest a need for public education about the risks of cell phone use and distracted behavior during other activities as well as driving. With an increasing number of devices and applications competing for users’ attention, it is more important than ever to ensure the safe use of smartphones."