We use only the safest and most effective procedures for ear wax removal. Find out more today.
We use only the safest and most effective procedures
for ear wax removal. Find out more today.
What is earwax?
Earwax is a naturally occurring substance produced by the ceruminous glands of the outer ear. It plays an important role in protecting the fragile skin of the ear canal, helps to maintain a constant temperature and humidity, assists in cleaning and lubrication, and provides protection against bacterial and fungal infections.
Excessive or compacted ear wax can cause problems though, including but not limited to hearing loss, dizziness and pain. In some cases, ear wax can also hide chronic complications such as cholesteatoma, perforations and polyps; therefore, safe removal is recommended.
There are various methods for dealing with excessive ear wax, however our preferred method for this is removal using micro-suction.
What is micro-suction?
Micro-suction is an ear wax removal procedure where the wax is removed from the ear under a microscope. The microscope is used to directly visualise the ear wax while it is being removed using gentle suction with a low-pressure suction machine and a fine sterile probe. (Occasionally, an ENT instrument called a ‘jobson horn’ will be used for the final removal of particularly large plugs.)
The procedure is performed using high powered, portable magnifying glasses with a bright light attached, known as loupes. These provide stereoscopic vision to aid depth perception and leave both hands free to work, with one hand holding a ‘speculum’ in place which keeps the ear canal open and allows the practitioner to work to the correct depth and the other holding the suction probe.
The procedure typically takes between 15 to 30 minutes to perform, although this can vary depending on the amount and type of ear wax, the depth of the wax and how impacted it is. The patient remains in a seated position throughout.
Unlike syringing or irrigation methods, where ear wax is flushed out ‘blindly’, with micro-suction the ear wax is being directly visualised under the microscope while being removed. This makes the procedure quicker, safer and more comfortable for the patient.
Benefits of micro-suction:
Micro-suction is widely considered to be the safest procedure for ear wax removal. Benefits include:
- Clear view of the ear canal throughout the procedure.
- Ear drops not always required (although the use of olive oil will typically reduce the amount of time the procedure takes)
- Procedure is dry which reduces the risk of infection.
- Can also remove foreign objects stuck in the ear canal
- Less risk of vertigo
- Can be performed when perforations, grommets, mastoid cavities or cleft palates are present
- Recommended by ENT Consultants if ears have previously had surgery