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Niger J Med. 2013 Apr-Jun;22(2):109-12.

What health professionals at the Jos University Teaching Hospital insert in their ears.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Jos, PMB 2084, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria.



The aim of this study is to determine if health professionals in our hospital insert objects in their ears and the complications which follow.


In this prospective cross-sectional study, validated questionnaires were filled by health professionals working in our Teaching Hospital and analyzed.


One hundred and forty one questionnaires were analyzed involving subjects aged 25 to 59 years with a mean of 42 years (SD = +/- 12.5). There were 94 males and 47 females with a male to female ratio of 2:1. Thirty four (24.1%) nurses participated in the study followed by Resident doctors (n = 22, 15.6%) and Intern doctors (n = 20, 14.2%). One hundred and twenty nine (91.5%) individuals 'clean' their ears with majority of them (n = 48, 37.2%) doing so occasionally. Multiple objects were inserted into the ears by 32 (24.0%) subjects and single objects by 98 (76%). The commonest object inserted into the ears to effect 'cleaning' was cotton buds in 115 cases. Twelve (9.3%) subjects recorded ear injuries in the process. Seven (53.3%) subjects with injuries inserted objects into their ears daily. Seven subjects recorded injuries with the use of match sticks. Sixty three (44.7%) subjects had accumulation of cerumen. Cotton buds (n = 29) were the commonest method for cerumen removal. Complications recorded from the removal of cerumen were otalgia (n = 2) and vertigo (n = 1).


Health professionals in our centre have a practice of inserting various potentially dangerous objects into their ears.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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