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Title: An evaluation of olive oil spray used nightly to decrease the accumulation of earwax in persons aged over 50 years
Author: Rodgers, Rosemary W.
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2012
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Abstract:
Management of earwax problems is inconsistent and under-researched with a paucity of evidence currently available to inform ear care strategy. This study aimed to determine if daily lubrication of the external ear canal with olive oil enhances the normal expulsion of earwax. The study comprised four components: • A pilot questionnaire survey of 55 ear care exhibition attendees • A cross-sectional ear survey of 483 people in Essex and South Yorkshire. • An experimental study of 50 people over 50 years old, presenting with bilateral occlusive earwax. Subjects instilled nightly measure of olive oil into one ear over 24 weeks, the untreated ear acting as control. • Pre- and post-experiment interviews with experimental subjects. A Visual measure of earwax accumulation throughout the experimental period demonstrated a greater increase in treated ears. This was confirmed by the mean weight of earwax removed from treated ears being 72.6% greater than control ears. All earwax was successfully removed before and after the experimental study without adverse effects, by a novel procedure using olive oil application immediately before earwax removal. The mass of earwax accumulated was much greater in males than females. A slower rate of earwax accumulation with increasing age was demonstrated. A history of prior earwax problems correlated with increased earwax accumulation. Interview data illuminated changes in personal ear care post 11 study and linked some earwax problems to the availability of General Practice care and treatment provided. It is concluded that normal expulsion of earwax from the ear canal is not enhanced by regular lubrication with olive oil: on the contrary the accumulating mass of earwax is increased. Olive oil is, however, beneficial in alleviating itchiness and dry ear skin and to aid earwax removal when applied immediately before this procedure. This study contributes new knowledge, which should encourage future studies and guide development of ear care practice. 12
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.566285  DOI: Not available
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