Non-chewing diets and cerumen impaction in the external ear canal in a residential aged care population

Wilhelmina Mulders, Hannah Morley, Vanessa Panak, Helen Goulios, Angelita Martini, Claire Langdon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Web of Science)


Objective: To examine whether diets involving reduced chewing affect the degree of cerumen impaction in older people in residential care.
Methods: 51 people (53% male) over 65 years (80.5±9.3) were recruited from two residential aged-care facilities in Perth, Australia. Participants were classified as “chewers” (on unrestricted or soft food diets), or “non-chewers” (on pureed or nil by mouth diets), and completed a survey about predisposing factors for cerumen impaction. Otoscopy and tympanometry were used to assess cerumen impaction and ear canal occlusion. Participants with excess cerumen were referred for wax removal.
Results: No significant difference in cerumen accumulation was found between groups. However, 57% of participants showed excess cerumen requiring removal.
Conclusion: Diets involving reduced chewing are not associated with increased cerumen in older people in residential care. Prevalence of cerumen impaction is high in this population, and improved cerumen screening and management is needed in residential aged-care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-136
Number of pages6
JournalAustralasian Journal on Ageing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


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