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Br J Community Nurs. 2005 May;10(5):228-32.

Does irrigation of the ear to remove impacted wax improve hearing?

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Bromley Primary Care Trust.


Irrigation of the ear to remove impacted wax is a commonly performed nursing procedure in primary and community care. The main presenting symptom is hearing loss. This review sought to determine whether there is any evidence that irrigation of the ear to remove impacted wax improves hearing. The strategy used was that of a mini-review. Four databases were searched. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs), quasi-randomized studies and non-randomized comparative studies were considered if they demonstrated an objective measure of hearing before and after ear irrigation. Four studies were selected for critical appraisal. Only one study, a single-blind RCT, measured outcome by number of individuals that had their hearing improved by a clinically significant amount (33%). The results of this RCT may be over-estimated and so more evidence may be required before the question can be fully answered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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