We use 3 methods to remove wax: microsuction, irrigation, and dry tool.
We have been trained specifically for each wax removal method.
Note: irrigation is commonly called ear-syringing – but they are different.
Which method will we use?
We generally start with microsuction as it is the cleanest way to remove wax, and it is very effective most of the time.
Very soft ear wax: If your ear wax is very soft then irrigation may be better, as microsuction probes can penetrate very soft wax and may therefore touch or scratch your ear canal.
Very hard ear wax: If your ear wax is very hard then it may be that we need to soften it with warm water by using the irrigation unit; or if it is extremely hard then it may be that dry tool removal is more effective.
Ear drops: We do not specifically need you to use ear drops before seeing us. However, very occasionally we do have to send people away to use ear drops to soften the wax; hence, we offer a free return visit.
Sometimes it can be necessary to use all three methods to remove stubborn ear wax.
What is ‘microsuction’?
The image shows a typical mobile microsuction unit / pump. Microsuction units can be much bigger for heavier duty purposes.
A microsuction pump acts like a mini-hoover and consists of a small suction pump unit which has a length of tubing (about 1m long) with a suction probe inserted into the end. We place a funnel shaped specula into the patients ear and carefully suction the wax out. It is imperative the clinician has good visibility and wears effective loupes with headlight.
This is particularly efficient for firm ear-wax.
Is Micro-suction safe?
Ear wax removal is an invasive procedure in a very delicate and sensitive part of our body. There are a number of varying risks when undertaking each different procedure – micro-suction, irrigation / syringing, and dry tool ear wax removal.
Some risks are standard, can occur often, and would be deemed acceptable – i.e dry skin may peel away and cause slight soreness or very slight bleeding.
Other risks could be more severe and would be deemed unacceptable – i.e. perforated ear-drum.
The suction level of the pump should be checked as part of the risk assessment.
Risks must be understood, managed and controlled.
In order to do this we must first have appropriate training. At Crystal Hearing we have been trained by the Rotherham Primary Ear Care Centre.
In order to manage the risks it is important to work to practice or procedural guidelines and to have risk assessments in place.
Crystal Hearing works closely in accordance with the guidelines laid out by the British Society of Audiologists.
Crystal Hearing also has in place risk assessments for each ear wax removal method. In our risk assessments we have review control methods laid out.
For your reassurance our risk assessment for micro-suction can be viewed here.
Prior to undertaking ear-wax removal it is imperative to fill in a consent form which should clearly lay out all the contraindications or precautions of undertaking ear-wax removal.
Watch Our Video
What is ‘Irrigation’?
Irrigation uses a pumped spray of water – normally pulsing at a controlled pressure.
Ear Syringing uses a small syringe which requires manual pressure – we do not use ear syringes.
For irrigation we use a ‘Guardian ProJet’ irrigation unit as they offer good reliability and performance.
These devices exert a a pulsing spray of water into the ear to flush out softer wax. The water should be warm, as cold water can cause dizziness.
Irrigation is perfectly safe if the clinician appropriately controls the water flow pressure and angle of spray. It is advisable to undertake irrigation with clinician loupes to get a better view.
Dry tool ear wax removal
We have a selection of additional tools for hard stubborn ear wax including mini-forceps and specially designed ear probes – some with hooks, some with screw threads.
Often ear wax can bind to the shedding skin of the ear and can tangle with hairs making it very difficult to remove with irrigation and micro-suction.
These tools can be essential for removing very hard compacted ear-wax.
It may occasionally be necessary to use all three methods with very stubborn compacted ear wax.