Microsuction vs. other methods

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Methods of Ear Wax Removal

Treating Ear Wax Build-up

In most cases, ear wax falls out on its own, so there is no need for ear wax removal.  However, if it is completely blocking your ear canal and causing hearing loss or discomfort, it may need to be removed.  Indications for ear wax removal include:

  • Difficulty in examining the full tympanic membrane (ear drum)
  • Otitis externa – external ear canal infection
  • Wax occlusion of the external ear canal
  • As part of the workup for conductive hearing loss
  • Prior to taking the impression for hearing aid fitting
  • Suspected external ear canal or middle ear cholesteatoma
  • As part of grommet insertion or middle ear surgery
  • Patient request

What is Ear Microsuction?

Microsuction is a technique for removing ear wax or debris using either an ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) binocular operating microscope or specialised magnification loupes (similar to the type dentists use). This 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 is not dissimilar to using a tiny vacuum cleaner inside the ear to remove the wax.  Occasionally we may need to use other instruments to remove hard wax (such as Jobson Horne probes or micro forceps).

Using microsuction means that we can visualise the external ear canal and its contents in great detail while having minimal physical contact with the earlobe. This makes the process more comfortable for patients. Preparation of wax with olive oil ear drops is not usually necessary but may make the procedure faster and more comfortable for the patient.

Why is Ear Microsuction Better Than Other Methods of Ear Wax Removal?

There are a variety of reasons why microsuction is superior compared to the traditional forms of wax removal (e.g. ear syringing or irrigation, ear drops).  Ear Microsuction is:

  • safer
  • faster
  • better tolerated
  • more effective
  • usually does not require weeks of waiting for drops to soften the wax. It may be performed on the same day you decide to book your appointment
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