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Ear syringing improved hearing in general practice

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QUESTION: In general practice, does ear syringing improve hearing thresholds?


Randomised {allocation concealed}*, blinded (outcome assessors), controlled trial with immediate follow up.


Ear syringing clinics at 3 general practices in the Bristol area, UK.


116 patients who attended the clinics with an ear drum completely obscured by wax and had instilled oily ear drops for ≥3 days before syringing. 114 patients (98%) were included in the analysis (mean age 63 y, 54% men).


All patients had a first hearing test. 55 patients allocated to the intervention group immediately had their ears syringed, waited until they were dry, and then had a second hearing test. 61 patients allocated to the control group …

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  • * Information provided by author.

  • Source of funding: Royal College of General Practitioners Scientific Foundation Group.

  • For correspondence: Dr D Memel, Air Balloon Surgery, St George, Bristol, UK. dmemel{at}