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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 13-16

Human cerumen and its antimicrobial properties: Study at a tertiary care teaching hospital of Eastern India


1 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, IMS and SUM Hospital, Siksha “O” Anusandhan University (Deemed to be), Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
2 Division of Microbiology, ICMR-NIOH, Ahmedbad, Gujurat, India

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Santosh Kumar Swain
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, IMS and SUM Hospital, Siksha “O” Anusandhan University (Deemed to be), Bhubaneswar - 751 003, Odisha
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/aiao.aiao_28_18

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Aim: This study aimed to find out the antibacterial and antifungal properties of the human cerumen. Materials and Methods: This is a prospective study conducted at the department of otorhinolaryngology and medical research laboratory of a tertiary care teaching hospital of Eastern India between December 2016 and November 2018 for assessing the antibacterial and antifungal properties of the human cerumen. Cerumen was collected from 102 healthy persons by using sterile Jobson Horne Probe. Sterile samples were taken for the study. Results: Out of the 102 samples, 68 sterile samples were considered for the study. At a dilution of 1 in 105, there was complete inhibition of Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa in all the samples. In this study, cerumen inhibited the bacteria in the order of E. coli > S. aureus > P. aeruginosa > Haemophilus influenzae > Aspergillus niger > Candida albicans. Conclusion: Cerumen or earwax of the human being has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Other than antibacterial and antifungal properties, it also protects the eardrum by acting as a physical barrier. Hence, cerumen cleaning is not advisable unless it is causing symptoms such as otalgia or hearing loss.


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