The clinical implications of ear canal debris in hearing aid users.
Objective : The ear irritations suffered by hearing aid (HA) users are yet to be related to the clinical state of canal. We undertook this study to examine the nature of debris and the microbial flora of ears of hearing aid users, as well as evaluate the determinant factors of ear irritation in this population. Methods : An observational clinical study was carried out involving 32 unilateral hearing aid users recruited from ENT clinic of a tertiary referral center. Each subject underwent otoscopic assessment of canal debris and microbial analysis of swab cultures taken from the hearing aid-wearing ear and contralateral normal ear without hearing aid. Results : Canal debris [wax (28%), fungal deposits (19%), bacteria exudates (13%)]. as well as microorganisms were identified in significant number of ears with hearing aids than ears without hearing aid (P = 0.003 and P = 0.006 respectively). Coagulase-negative staphylococci were the commonest identified bacteria. Others were Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Proteus species. Intolerable irritations of hearing aid wearing ears were significantly associated with bacterial and fungal otitis externa, and ear discharge (P = 0.005, 0.02, 0.03 respectively). Conclusions : This study demonstrates that using hearing aid alters the ear canal flora; increases risk of both fungal and bacterial otitis externa, as well as encourage wax debris formation, with resultant ear irritations. To ensure compliance their ears should periodically be attended to, by de-waxing or given topical antimicrobial agents where indicated.
Orji FT, O Onyero E, Agbo CE. The clinical implications of ear canal debris in hearing aid users. Pak J Med Sci. 2014 May