Itching in the external ear-a side effect of ear plugs
The object of this investigation was to assess the frequency of itching in the external auditory meatus in individuals who use hearing aid ear plugs (OP) and, simultaneously, to assess the cause of the itching. Seventy-six of the patients examined consecutively in the audiological department (ages 34-89 years) were questioned about itching and were submitted to an objective ear, nose and throat examination, audiometry and culturing from the external meatus for bacterial and fungal growth. In 20 patients, patch tests were made for allergic reactions from which the ear plugs were made (heat polymerized methyl methacrylate). None of the 20 patients had become sensitized. Itching in the external auditory meatus was found to be a side effect of employment of ear plugs with an incidence of 39% as opposed to only seven in ears without ear plugs (p less than 0.05). The incidence of itching was not reduced in ears with a ventilation channel in the ear plug. In 38% of the itching ears no objective changes were observed and, in the remaining cases, the changes were frequently limited. Potentially pathological bacterial growth was found to be significantly more in ears with ear plugs (1- greater than 16%, p less than 0.05) and in itching ears (4- greater than 24%, p less than 0.05). In ears with potentially pathogenic bacteria, objective changes were nearly always found. In the vast majority of cases, the potentially pathogenic bacteria were Gram-negative, corresponding to the findings in external otitis in the tropics and mixed infections with fungi were frequently present.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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ABSTRACT: The aim of the study is to demonstrate the effect of postural changes in keeping the ears dry during showering. A prospective, randomized, single blinded trial. Tertiary otolaryngological unit. Forty adult volunteers were recruited and randomly allocated to have a shower either with a head down or a head up posture. Presence of fluorescein in the deeper ear canal. Ninety-three per cent of ears in the head down group had no fluorescein and 95% of ears in the head up group showed the presence of fluorescein, indicating presence of water in the deeper ear canals. When a head down position was assumed during showering, water did not enter the deeper part of the ear canal in 93% of ears.
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