Background: Self ear cleaning with cotton buds and other objects is a common practice. Objective: To determine the sociodemographic characteristics and the prevalence of self ear cleaning habit among patients attending a family medicine clinic in a teaching hospital in Sokoto metropolis. Materials and Methods: This was a 4 weeks prospective study carried out between May and June, 2013 at Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital and Specialist Hospital Sokoto. A structured self response questionnaire containing items on sociodemographic characteristics, frequency of administering objects into the ear and complications of self ear cleaning was administered to the respondents after institutional research ethical clearance. The data were analysed using SPSS for windows version 16.0. P-value was considered significantly if less than 0.05. Results: A total of 200 subjects were included in this study, comprising of 93 (46.5%) males and 107 (53.5%) females. Their ages ranged from 18-57 years with the mean age being 30.29 years (±8.70). Eighty percent (160) of the respondents practise self ear cleaning. Types of objects included writing objects and cotton buds. For many of the subjects, the frequency of insertion was once daily and both ears were frequently cleaned. Complications that have arisen due to the practice included otitis externa. Conclusion: Self ear cleaning was prevalent in the subjects. Considering the complications that may arise, ear cleaning is better done by trained health personnel.
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