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IJMDC. 2020; 4(6): 960-967

Knowledge, attitudes, and practices of self-ear cleaning among medical and nonmedical students at King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia

Abdulaziz Ahmed A. Alshehri, Khalid Ayed Asiri, Moshabab Saeed D. Alahmari, Haifa Hisham A. Alwabel, Yahya Dhafer Alahmari, Syed Esam Mahmood.


Background: Earwax production provides a barrier against infections and affords a defense mechanism against insects and water. Many people do not have sufficient knowledge about complications of unprofessional selfear cleaning. This study assessed the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of self-ear cleaning among students of King Khalid University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Methodology: This cross-sectional study was conducted among randomly selected medical and non-medical students of King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia. A structured questionnaire was used to study the demographic characteristics, knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding self-ear cleaning. Results: Out of 394 respondents, the majority (57.9%) were medical students. The mean age was 22 ± 2.8 years with a male:female ratio of 1:1. A higher proportion (55.1%) thought that ear self-cleaning is beneficial and about three-quarters of them practiced it before. Hygiene was the most common reason for practicing ear self- cleaning (45%). About two-thirds cleaned both outside and inside of their ears. Nearly half practicing ear self-cleaning did it for more than 5 years and nearly three quarters did it occasionally. Cotton bud was the most common tool used (77.7%). The majority (75.6%) did not report any complications related to their habits. About 56% had moderate knowledge, whereas 12% had poor knowledge about ear self-cleaning. Medical students showed higher knowledge and lower ear self-cleaning practices as compared to the non-medical ones. Conclusion: The relevant courses and awareness programs about ear self-cleaning practices aiming to reduce their numbers and complications should be adopted. Further studies to assess the knowledge about ear self-cleaning practices should be conducted.

Key words: Ear cleaning, self, knowledge, practices, and students.

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