Wax Impaction in Nigerian School Children.
Background: Impacted wax has been classified as an ear disease. It can cause pain, itching, tinnitus hearing loss or otitis externa. The prevalence of cerumen impaction varies. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of impacted ear wax in primary school children and to determine, if there is any association between socioeconomic status and the occurrence of wax impaction among these school children. Methods: A multi-staged stratified sampling technique was used to select 630 pupils from 15 primary schools in Ile-Ife using the Local Education Authority (LEA) list for common entrance code as the sampling frame. Pre-tested structured questionnaire was administered on each selected pupil with clarification from parent/ guardian where necessary and were examined. Each pupil was placed in the upper, middle and lower socioeconomic class based on Oyedeji’s classification. Results: Three hundred and one (47.8%) were females and three hundred and twenty-nine (52.2%) were males. Forty-two point two percent (42.2%) of the pupils were from the lower socioeconomic class, 31.6% (199) were from the middle class and 26.6% (164) were from the upper class. Wax impaction had a prevalence of 46.7% and significantly higher in the lower socioeconomic status (p=0.036). Conclusion: Wax impaction is a problem amongst Nigerian primary school children. There is a significant relationship between wax impaction and low socioeconomic status. Regular otoscopy of school children is being advocated for early detection and subsequent treatment to prevent the attendant problem of hearing impairment which leads to poor school performance.