Nigerian Journal of Medicine

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What Health Professionals at the Jos University Teaching Hospital Insert in Their Ears

AA Adeyi, LN Tonga


OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to determine if health professionals in our hospital insert objects in their ears and the complications which  follow.
METHODOLOGY: In this prospective cross-sectional study, validated questionnaires were filled by health professionals working in our Teaching Hospital and analyzed.
RESULTS: 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).
CONCLUSION: Health professionals in our centre have a practice of  inserting various potentially dangerous objects into their ears.

KEY WORDS: Health professionals; Ears; Jos

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