Self-ear cleaning practices and the associated risk of ear injuries and ear-related symptoms in a group of university students

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Nasim Banu Khan (1*), Sivashnee Thaver (2), Samantha Marlene Govender (3)

1 Discipline of Audiology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.
2 Discipline of Audiology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.
3 Discipline of Audiology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.
(*) Corresponding Author:
Nasim Banu Khan
khanna@ukzn.ac.za

Abstract

Self-ear cleaning is the insertion of objects into the ear canal to clean it, a widespread practice that has the potential to compromise its integrity as a natural, selfcleansing mechanism, and a risk factor for possible injuries. The practice is common among young adults and highest in university than any other graduates. This study aimed to determine the self-ear cleaning practices and associated risk of injury and related symptoms in undergraduate students at KwaZulu-Natal University. The descriptive survey utilized a self-administered questionnaire. Of the 206 participants that responded, 98% engaged in self-ear cleaning, with 75% indicating that it was beneficial. The commonest method (79.6%) being the use of cotton buds, with an associated injury rate of 2.4%. There was no statistically significant associations between those who used or did not use cotton buds and the symptoms experienced. The complications indicate that self-ear cleaning does pose a risk for injury, necessitating more community information and education.

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How to Cite
Khan, N., Thaver, S., & Govender, S. (2017). Self-ear cleaning practices and the associated risk of ear injuries and ear-related symptoms in a group of university students. Journal of Public Health in Africa, 8(2). https://doi.org/10.4081/jphia.2017.555