A novel earwax self-sampling device: a feasibility study

Andrés Herane-Vives, Rodrigo Sandoval, Lorena Ortega, Susana Espinoza, Anthony Cleare, Alexander Hayes, Esteban Ortuzar, Tomás Valdenegro, Bruno Aguiló, Jan Benöhr, Danilo Arnone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


(1) Background: Earwax might provide the long-term concentration of substances that are altered in chronic diseases. Standardised earwax extraction has to be exclusively performed by clinicians. We investigated the safety, reliability, and tolerance of a novel self-sampling earwax device in comparison with a clinical method; (2) Methods: We compared the reliability between both methods in a longitudinal study. We first cleaned both ears at baseline in 37 controls. Secondly, we obtained a sample a month after by extracting earwax from the right ear with a novel self-sampling device, and from the left ear by using the clinical method. Reliability of both methods was measured by coefficients of variation; (3) Results: The weight of the baseline samples was not significantly different between ear sides. The reliability of the two methods was not significantly different. The self-extraction method removed eight times more earwax than the clinical method. The new method proved to be well tolerated; (4) Conclusions: The novel device was as reliable as the clinical method in sampling earwax. In view of its practicality, safety, tolerability and efficiency, the new method may have clinical applications at a reduced cost.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4882
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2021


  • Clinical method
  • Cotton swabs
  • Self-sampling earwax device

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Instrumentation
  • General Engineering
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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