Learning for life: Ear care

Life Long Learning and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) are the
processes by which professionals, such as nurses, develop and improve their

There are many ways to address CPD: formally, through attending courses,
study days and workshops; or informally, through private study and reflection.
Reading articles in professional journals is a good way of keeping up-to-date
with what is going on in the field of practice, but reflecting and identifying
what you have learnt is not always easy.

These questions are designed to help you to identify what you have learnt
from studying the article. They will also help you to clarify what you can
apply to practice, what you did not understand and what you need to explore

1. The majority of litigation costs related to ear syringing are the
result of:

a) Infection
b) Perforated ear drum
c) Poor technique
d) Lack of care

2. Which of the following is NOT a benefit in preventing or treating ear

a) Patient satisfaction
b) Better communication
c) Reduction in sickness absence
d) Budget restrictions

3. In which direction should the meatus be pulled to obtain optimum view
of the tympanic membrane?

a) Postero-superiorly
b) Postero-laterally
c) Frontal-superiorly
d) Frontal – laterally

4. The proper name for ear wax is…

a) Ceramide
b) Cerumen
c) Cetrimide

5. The bones of the middle ear are called…

a) Hammer and sickle
b) Metatarsals
c) Malleus, incus and stapes
d) Concha, tragus and pinna

6. Which of the following is NOT a cause of hearing loss?

a) Trauma
b) Noise
c) Wax
d) Iritis

7. What causes itchiness when wearing ear defenders

a) Extreme cold
b) Excessive perspiration
c) Ill fitting protective equipment
d) Allergy

8. A perforated ear drum is caused by…

a) Trauma, barotraumas or infection
b) Wrong-sized ear plugs, barotraumas or infection
c) Trauma, wrong-sized ear plugs or infection
d) Trauma, barotraumas or wrong-sized ear plugs

9. Wax impaction does NOT cause…

a) Pain
b) Tinnitus
c) Sinusitis
d) Vertigo

10. People who are NOT more susceptible to wax problems are those with…

a) Excess hairs
b) Narrow meatus
c) Hearing aids
d) Glasses


1) c – Hopefully ear syringing is not a practice carried out in
occupational health – but if it is, what training did you receive and how do
you know whether you are up-to-date?
2) d – If noise is a hazard in your place of work, then ear care should
be budgeted for as an important part of a Hearing Conservation Programme.
3) a – The others are made up! Make sure you know the correct way to
examine ears. Discuss this practice with your colleagues and ensure that you
are competent and safe. Read the section on guidance for examining the ear
again, as this should be carried out before the hearing test as part of the
Hearing Conservation Programme.
4) b
5) c – Revise your knowledge of the anatomy of the ear and the
physiology of hearing.
6) d – Iritis is a serious eye problem.
7) b – And this may be due to poor quality or unsuitable ear defenders.
8) a – They should be referred to the GP for proper treatment.
9) c
10) d

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