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Finding the most effective cerumenolytic

  • C Saxby (a1), R Williams (a1) and S Hickey (a1)



To conduct an in-vitro study to determine the most effective topical cerumenolytic.


Cerumen was collected from patients who attended the ENT out-patient clinic. The collected cerumen was formed into a homogeneous ball. Discs of wax were punched out and weighed to create samples of uniform shape and size. Each cerumen sample was placed in a tube which contained one of six test solutions. The tubes were observed at specific time points. Digital photographs were taken to record the degree of cerumen disintegration. The cerumen discs were then removed from the solutions, dried and re-weighed.


Distilled water caused the greatest reduction in the mass of the cerumen disc. Cerumen placed in distilled water and in sodium bicarbonate solution showed substantial disintegration at 12 hours. Cerumen placed in solutions containing oil-based agents showed no visible sign of disintegration and no reduction in dried weight.


Distilled water resulted in the greatest degree of cerumenolysis. Oil-based cerumenolytics were ineffective.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Ms C Saxby, ENT Department, Torbay District General Hospital, Newton Rd, Torquay TQ2 7AA, UK Fax: +44 (0)1803 655 506 E-mail:


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Finding the most effective cerumenolytic

  • C Saxby (a1), R Williams (a1) and S Hickey (a1)


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