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A novel earwax self-sampling device: a feasibility study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Andrés Herane-Vives, Rodrigo Sandoval, Lorena Ortega, Susana Espinoza, Anthony Cleare, Alexander Hayes, Esteban Ortuzar, Tomás Valdenegro, Bruno Aguiló, Jan Benöhr, Danilo Arnone

Original languageEnglish
Article number4882
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number11
Published1 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: Funding: This study was funded by private funds provided by A.H.-V. and J.B. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


(1) Background: Earwax might provide the long-term concentration of substances that are altered in chronic diseases. Standardised earwax extraction has to be exclusively performed by clinicians. We investigated the safety, reliability, and tolerance of a novel self-sampling earwax device in comparison with a clinical method; (2) Methods: We compared the reliability between both methods in a longitudinal study. We first cleaned both ears at baseline in 37 controls. Secondly, we obtained a sample a month after by extracting earwax from the right ear with a novel self-sampling device, and from the left ear by using the clinical method. Reliability of both methods was measured by coefficients of variation; (3) Results: The weight of the baseline samples was not significantly different between ear sides. The reliability of the two methods was not significantly different. The self-extraction method removed eight times more earwax than the clinical method. The new method proved to be well tolerated; (4) Conclusions: The novel device was as reliable as the clinical method in sampling earwax. In view of its practicality, safety, tolerability and efficiency, the new method may have clinical applications at a reduced cost.

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