Over-the-counter eardrops may cause hearing loss or damage



    The Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC recommends these products be
    used with extreme caution

    MONTREAL, Jan. 28 /CNW Telbec/ - A new study, led by researchers at The
Montreal Children's Hospital (MCH) of the MUHC, has revealed that certain
over-the-counter earwax softeners can cause severe inflammation and damage to
the eardrum and inner ear. The results of the study, recently published in The
Laryngoscope, suggest that use of these medications should be discouraged.
    "Patients often complain that wax is blocking their ears and is causing
discomfort and sometimes deafness," says Dr. Sam Daniel principal investigator
of the study and director of McGill Auditory Sciences Laboratory at The
Children's. "Over-the-counter earwax softeners are used to breakup and
disperse this excess wax. However, the effects of these medications on the
cells of the ear had not been thoroughly analyzed."
    "Because some of these products are readily available to the public
without a consultation with or prescription from a physician, it is important
to make sure they are safe to use. Our study shows that in a well-established
animal model, one such product, Cerumenex, is in fact, toxic to the cells of
the ear," says Dr. Daniel.
    Dr. Daniel and his team studied the impact of Cerumenex on hearing. In
addition, overall toxicity in the outer ear and changes in the nerve cells of
the inner ear were analyzed.
    "Harmful effects to many of the cells were observed after only one dose,"
says Dr. Melvin Schloss co-author and MCH Director of Otolaryngology. "We
observed reduced hearing, severe inflammation, and lesions to the nerve
cells."
    "We believe these findings are applicable to humans," add Dr. Daniel.
"The animal model we chose has been widely used to test toxicity. In addition,
this model has a very similar hearing mechanism. Overall, our findings suggest
that Cerumenex has a toxic potential and it should be used with caution."

    The Montreal Children's Hospital is the pediatric teaching hospital of
the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). The institution is a leader in the
care and treatment of sick infants, children, and adolescents from across
Quebec. The Montreal Children's Hospital provides a high level and broad scope
of health care services, and provides ultra specialized care in many fields
including: cardiology and cardiac surgery; neurology and neurosurgery,
traumatology; genetic research; psychiatry and child development and
musculoskeletal conditions, including orthopedics and rheumatology. Fully
bilingual and multicultural, the institution respectfully serves an
increasingly diverse community in more than 50 languages. www.thechildren.com




For further information:

For further information: Lisa Dutton, Manager, Public Relations and
Communications MCH, (514) 412-4307, lisa.dutton@muhc.mcgill.ca


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