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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 17-21

Self‑ear‑cleaning among educated young adults in Nigeria

Department of Surgery, Otorhinolaryngology Unit, College of Health Sciences, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Osogbo, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Adedayo Olugbenga Olaosun
Department of Surgery, Otorhinolaryngology Unit, College of Health Sciences, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Osogbo
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2249-4863.130262

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Context: Self-ear-cleaning has been reported to be common from several hospital-based studies and it has been associated with some diseases of the ear. Aims: To determine community-based prevalence of self-ear-cleaning and its sociodemographic correlates among educated young adults in Nigeria. Settings and Design: A cross-sectional survey conducted in a National Youth Service Corps camp in Nigeria. Subjects and Methods: Semistructured questionnaires were administered on a randomly selected sample of 1280 respondents. The outcome variable was self-ear-cleaning. Independent variables were sociodemographic variables, materials used and ear-cleaning habits. Statistical Analysis Used: Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 15 was utilized for univariate, bivariate, and multiple logistic regression analysis. Results: There were 1012 respondents (M: F = 1.05:1). Mean age was 25.3 (standard deviation, 2.34). Prevalence of self-ear-cleaning was 93.4%. Mean age at first cleaning was 7.6 years. Cotton buds were the most frequently used objects (in 85.1%). Prevalence was high irrespective of sociodemographic class, significantly higher among females (c 2 = 4.549, P = 0.033), those who believed the habit was beneficial (c 2 = 114.185, P < 0.001) and those whose parents and siblings practiced the habit. Significant predictive factors were self-ear-cleaning in respondent's father [odds ratio (OR) P = 0.011) and owning cotton buds (OR = 0.192, P = 0.007). Conclusions: Self-ear-cleaning is almost universal. Most of the population is, therefore, at risk of possible harmful effects. Also, medical advice against self-ear-cleaning is not widely known. Rather, the erroneous perception that self-ear-cleaning is beneficial is common. Collaborative health education efforts targeted at families and schools and campaigns and advocacy for legislation regulating the sale of cotton buds are recommended.

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