Earwax Cleaning services
What services are available and exactly what is microsuction earwax?
Earwax Removal Services, Microsuction, Irrigation & Syringing
Earwax removal as a service has grown exponentially in the last few years. More and more Independent hearing health professionals have trained and become qualified to remove earwax using several methods. Many felt that this was a valuable service to offer their customers and a natural extension of the services they provide. The advent of this service seems to have come at a very good time as more and more people find it difficult to access the service in GP surgeries. But what exactly is the service offered and how does it work?
Why you should have your ear cleaned professionally.
Simply put your ear canal is delicate as is your ear drum, if you make the mistake of putting anything in your ear you run the risk of damaging either or both. Many people every year burst or perforate their eardrum by sticking all sort of implements in there, usually cotton buds. They are called cotton buds, not ear buds, they are designed for babies noses, not ears. Please don't put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear.
You should not try to use cotton buds to remove earwax from your ear canal, all it will do is push it towards the ear drum. It can cause you even more problems and make it more difficult to remove. Leave earwax removal to a qualified specialist who can clearly see what he or she is doing.
I think you should always use earwax softening drops for four or five days before an appointment no matter what procedure it is. Icky gooey earwax is easier to remove which means easier for you as well. Try and get a spray type oil instead of the usual drops, it coats the wax and the canal without having to lie still for twenty minutes.
Hopi Ear Candles
Just no, your shakras don't need re-aligning! Hopi ear candling seems to have become quite popular again, but not only do they not work, they are dangerous. You can read more about hopi ear candles and whether they work or not here.
Earwax blockage symptoms
There are a few symptoms that you may feel if you are suffering from earwax blockage of your ear canal.
- a feeling of fullness in the ear
- the sensation of hearing everything muffled
- mild tinnitus
If any of these symptoms sound familiar then you should have your ear canal or canals checked.
Ear Cleaning Services
The pre-dominant forms of ear cleaning offered are irrigation and microsuction. Most Independent hearing health professionals would offer either one or both of these services. Ear syringing is not undertaken any longer, the process proved to have too many problems and caused too many complications. More often than not it also didn't remove the wax. Let's take a look at those services in a more detailed manner.
Microsuction Earwax Removal
Microsuction earwax removal is undertaken with a specialist medical grade vacum pump that gently sucks the earwax out of the ear. The procedure is undertaken using special microscope or microscope glasses called Loupes. This allows the professional clearly see exactly what they are doing. No liquids are used during the procedure, this procedure is seen as the gold standard in earwax removal and it is the safest form of earwax removal available.
Initially they will ask you a series of questions related to ear health and any experiences you have had with earwax removal. They will then check your ear canals to ensure that there is in fact wax present that needs to be removed. They will then move onto the removal process using a special attachment on the suction tube to suck out all of the wax. Once finished they will then again check your ears to ensure that they are clear. Most professionals will then provide a scan of your hearing to get a base line of your hearing ability for their records.
As I said, microsuction is the safest and most comfortable method of ear cleaning. There is no mess or fuss and no liquids are introduced to the ear canal during the procedure. The process is usually undertaken in a few minutes and it very rarely needs to be repeated a second time to get all of the wax, making it a same day service. The fact that the professional can clearly see what is happening in the ear canal during the procedure also makes it exceptionally safe.
Contra-indications to microsuction earwax removal
There really isn't any, occasionally the pumps used make people uncomfortable because of the noise, but that is the only thing we have ever heard reported. There is no other real reason than that for not undergoing microsuction.
Preperatory steps for microsuction
There really isn't any, although you could give your ears a spray of wax softener the night before your appointment. This will soften the wax around the ear canal and ready it for removal.
What happens during a microsuction ear wax removal appointment?
Microsuction wax removal appointments usually last about thirty minutes to one hour dependent on the wax build-up and whether it needs to be performed on one ear or two. The procedure is as follows:
- Assessment of the wax build up and some ear health questions
- Removal of wax using the microsuction equipment
- Post procedure assessment to ensure all wax is cleared and a healthy ear is observed
- Short scan test of hearing to assess hearing health
The actual process is simple enough, using either a microscope or loupes (glasses with microscope lenses attached) the professional will look through a specula into your ear. They will then use a specialist microsuction tool to suck the wax out. It can be a little loud, especially when the canula sucks a bit of wax through it or if a bit of wax gets stuck on the tip of it (think about what a blocked hoover sounds like, same sort of thing). All in all though the procedure is comfortable and is normally over in a few minutes.
Sometimes, because of the consistency of the wax or the age of it, the professional may not be able to remove it all in one session. They may ask you to use eardrops for a few days and come back. For me, I think using eardrops (preferably an ear spray, works better) for a few days before the procedure is a good idea. It softens the earwax and icky gooey earwax is a joy to remove.
Irrigation Earwax Removal
The second method of earwax removal often offered is the irrigation method of wax removal. This is my favourite way to remove earwax and it is a very safe method of earwax removal. It is performed with a spray type ear wash machine designed for the medical setting. Obviously from the name, liquid is introduced to your ear canal during the procedure. The process of the appointment is similar to the microsuction appointment. Initially they will ask you some questions in relation to your medical history and any experiences you have had before with earwax removal.
Once that is finished they will check your ear canals for the presence of wax before moving onto the removal process. The irrigation solution is carefully warmed to body temperature, this is important and you will see the professional carefully checking the temperature of the liquid. This is done to prevent any dizziness as any other temperature than body temperature may cause temporary vertigo.
They will use the spray type ear washer to gently stream water into the ear. The procedure is pretty simple and comfortable, the professional will pull the external ear upwards and back gently, this straightens out the ear canal. They will place a container under the ear to be washed to collect the liquid. They will then aim the nozzle of the sprayer into the canal slightly upwards and backwards so that the water flows along the roof of the ear canal.
This ensures that the water stream is not aimed at the eardrum at any time. The solution enters the canal, helping to break down the wax and will flow out of the canal along its floor taking any debris with it. The solution flows into the container with the removed wax. The irrigation procedure may need to be repeated a couple of times, this really depends on the hardness and age of the wax in the canal. When the wax has been completely removed they professional will use a special mopping apparatus to dry out the ear canal. This ensures that the ear is dry and there is no opportunity for bacteria to grow in the canal.
Some people like irrigation, it is quite comfortable and it really cleans out the canal. The solution gets everywhere in the canal removing all traces of wax or dirt even off the ear drum. It also tends to be cheaper than microsuction earwax removal as a service.
Contra-indications to irrigation earwax removal
There are a few contra indications to irrigation earwax removal, if you have an ear infection you should not have the procedure. If you have a perforation of your ear drum or have history of perforations of your ear drum you should not have the procedure. If you have a history of dizziness you should ensure that you tell the professional.
Preparatory steps for irrigation earwax removal
For irrigation to work first time it is important that you soften the earwax, softening it before the procedure is undertaken will ensure that it is successful. You should use an oil for a few days before removal to soften and prepare the wax for the procedure. You should drop or spray your oil into your ear at night just before bed allowing it to work overnight.
What happens during an irrigation ear wax removal appointment?
This appointment may last between forty minutes to an hour and a half, it depends on the wax hardness and whether the procedure needs to be performed on one ear or two. If you haven't softened the earwax enough the procedure will probably have to be repeated.
- Assessment of wax build up and ear health questionnaire
- Removal of wax via low pressure irrigation
- Dry mop of the ear canal
- Post procedure assessment to ensure all wax is cleared and a healthy ear is observed
Ear syringing is a well known form of ear cleaning and is probably the first type that many think of when they have an ear wax problem. However, ear syringing has been pretty much dropped as a service for many years. The original form of ear cleaning, it was found to have too many associated issues and has been discontinued. The issues were identified in a study that was undertaken in Edinburgh and were found to be that the procedure didn't work, that there was a high chance of gaining an ear infection and that in some cases there was a chance of the process causing an eardrum perforation. It was decided on the evidence delivered by the study that the process was not safe enough, at this stage most healthcare professionals moved to irrigation earwax removal.
If you like what you see, share it so others can benefit
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Don't worry, we hate spam too - that's why we only send out content you will want to read.