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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 379-382

Earwax impaction: Symptoms, predisposing factors and perception among Nigerians

1 Department of ENT, University of Ado-Ekiti Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria
2 Department of ENT, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria
3 Department of ENT, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Biodun Sulyman Alabi
Department of ENT, University of Ilorin/University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Box 4210, Ilorin, Kwara State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2249-4863.148116

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Background and Aim: Earwax impaction is a common ear disorder with presentation worldwide. This study aimed at determining the clinical presentation, patients' perception of earwax, and its predisposing factors among Nigerians. Materials and Methods: This prospective study was conducted on consented patients with diagnosis of earwax impaction at the Ear, Nose, and Throat Clinic of the University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti state, south west, Nigeria. The research was carried out over a period of one year (April 2008 and March 2009). All consented patients were told about the aim and scope of the study and their biodata were taken. Detailed history of the presenting complaints and otological complaints were taken and all data entered into structured questionnaires. Full-ear examination and otoscopy were performed and our findings were documented. From all these exercise, data obtained were collated and statistically analyzed. Results: A total of 437 patients were diagnosed with earwax impaction and prevalence of 20.1% was found. There was 52.2% male preponderance with male to female ratio of 1:1. Bimodal peak age distribution of patients was found at the extreme ages of life. Most common sources of our patients referrals were 39.6% general medical practitioners with least from 6.2% self-reporting. Common presentations were 277 (63.3%) hearing loss, 268 (61.3%) earache (otalgia), and 234 (53.5%) tiinitus. Unilateral earwax impaction, 75.1% was more common than bilateral earwax impaction. Right ear was more affected than left ear. Recurrent earwax impaction of 66.1% was found in our study. About 382 (87.4%) believed earwax was due to dirt or dust. Most common predisposing factors among our patients were self-ear cleaning. Conclusion: Common predisposing factor of this high recurrent earwax impaction were wrong perception and preventable self-ear cleaning with indiscriminate objects including cotton tip swab. This condition could be reduced by health education of the community.

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