Ear Microsuction vs. Other Ear Wax Removal Methods

What Is Ear Microsuction?

Ear microsuction is an ear wax removal technique that uses either an ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) binocular operating microscope or specialised magnification loupes (similar to the type dentists use).

This technique allows the clinician to look in the ear canal in great detail and use a very fine sterile suction device at low pressure to remove the wax.

This process of ear wax removal is a little bit like using a tiny vacuum cleaner inside the ear to remove the wax.

If the wax is particularly hard, we may need to use other instruments as part of the ear microsuction procedure, such as Jobson Horne probes, mini hooks, or micro forceps.

More about microsuction.

Microsuction vs Ear Syringing

Ear microsuction has been repeatedly shown to be superior to other methods of ear wax removal, such as syringing, irrigation, aural toilet, and ear drops. Ear microsuction is regarded as the gold standard technique for ear wax removal, as well as treating ear infections.

Using ear microsuction means that we can visualise the external ear canal and its contents in great detail while having minimal physical contact with the ear canal wall, which makes for a more comfortable ear wax removal procedure. Ear microsuction is therefore:

  • Safer
  • Faster
  • Better tolerated
  • More effective

What’s more, it typically doesn’t require weeks of waiting for ear drops to soften the wax before it can be removed. Ear microsuction may even be performed on the same day you decide to book an appointment.

What Do Other Ear Wax Removal Methods Involve?

Treating Ear Wax Build-up: What You Need To Know

In most cases, ear wax will fall out of the ear on its own, so there is no need for an ear wax removal procedure. However, if there is an ear wax build-up that is completely blocking the ear canal and is causing hearing loss or discomfort, it may need to be removed.

Ear wax removal may be necessary in the following instances:

  • When there is difficulty in examining the full tympanic membrane (ear drum)
  • Otitis externa - an external ear canal infection
  • In the event of wax occlusion of the external ear canal
  • As part of the work-up for conductive hearing loss/hearing tests
  • Prior to taking an ear impression for hearing aid fitting
  • If there is suspected external ear canal or middle ear cholesteatoma
  • As part of grommet insertion or middle ear surgery
  • At the patient’s request

Read more about common ear symptoms or get in touch with the Ear Care Clinic team if you have any questions.

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