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June 1986

Impacted Ear Wax—A Cause for Unexplained Cough?

Author Affiliations

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1986;112(6):679. doi:10.1001/archotol.1986.03780060091020

To the Editor.—I have seen at least three patients in the last few years who presented with a history of dry, nonproductive, irritating cough of over a year's duration. These cases had been thoroughly investigated by the examining physician with regard to the upper and lower respiratory tract and were found to have no causative factors.

The three patients were two women and a man, all over 40 years of age, who also complained of altered sensation in the region of the conchal and anterior lobule of the pinna. They had been treated elsewhere with a variety of specific and nonspecific medications for cough that included antibiotics, tranquilizers, and antidepressants. The external auditory canals were filled with dry, hard, impacted wax. When this ear wax was removed during the patients' subsequent visits after the prior investigations and after adequate softening, the cough disappeared, and, within 24 hours, the altered