Chronic tinnitus resulting from cerumen removal procedures

Robert L. Folmer, Baker Yongbing Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This study was undertaken to determine how many cases of chronic tinnitus in a clinic population resulted from cerumen removal procedures and to summarize cerumen management methodologies and recommendations that will reduce the likelihood of such serious complications. Detailed questionnaires were mailed to 2,400 consecutive patients (1,704 male, 696 female; mean age, 53.3 11.8 years; age range, 7-87 years) prior to their initial appointment at the Oregon Health & Science University Tinnitus Clinic between 1986 and 2000. These questionnaires requested information about patients' medical, hearing, and tinnitus histories. Records were analyzed to determine how many patients reported that their chronic tinnitus began as a result of cerumen removal procedures. Of 2,400 patients, 11 (0.46%) reported that their tinnitus began as a result of cerumen removal procedures performed by clinicians. Three additional patients reported that chronic tinnitus began as a result of their own attempts to clean their ear canals. Chronic and debilitating conditions, such as hearing loss and tinnitus, can occur as results of attempts to remove cerumen. By following the recommendations of experts in cerumen management techniques, clinicians can reduce the likelihood of catastrophic complications and subsequent litigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-46
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Tinnitus Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004


  • Cerumen
  • Ear wax
  • Management
  • Removal
  • Tinnitus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Speech and Hearing


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