People keep ending up in the hospital because they're dropping their phones on themselves

Smartphone

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  • The number of cellphone-related head and neck injuries is on the rise, according to a new study.
  • The injuries were evenly split between direct injuries, like someone dropping a phone on themselves, and use-associated injuries, which include injuries that result from being distracted by a phone.
  • Injuries spiked after the first iPhone was released, researchers found.
  • Researchers also counted 90 people who were injured while playing "Pokémon Go."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Americans are increasingly distracted by our smartphones - and that distraction is taking a toll on our health, according to a new study.

Researchers behind the study, published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology and first reported on by The Verge, analyzed a national database of head and neck injuries related to cell phones dating back 20 years. They concluded that "growing dependence on cell phones in modern life" is behind an uptick in cellphone-related injuries.Advertisement

From 1998 to 2017 there were more than 76,000 phone-related injuries nationwide, the study estimated. These injuries were evenly split between direct injuries, like someone dropping a phone on themselves or being struck with one, and use-associated injuries, which include injuries that result from being distracted by a phone.

While children under the age of 13 accounted for the vast majority of direct injuries, adults were at a much higher risk for injuries related to distraction by phones, with people over the age of 50 at highest risk.

These include injuries from texting while driving and walking while looking at phones. Researchers counted 90 people who were injured because they were distracted while playing "Pokémon Go."
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The study also found that the number of both types of injuries spiked after the first iPhone was released. The researchers behind the study said their findings pointed to a need for more education about the risks of being distracted by cell phones.

"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. Specifically, high-risk age groups should be targeted for education to prevent unnecessary injury," researchers wrote.You can read the full report here.Advertisement

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