Microsuction as a tool for ear wax removal has been around for a very long time. Generally, most ENT departments used microsuction to remove ear wax from the ear canals of people with perforations or large cavities after mastoid operations. The reason was simple, removal of ear wax using water could be dangerous for these people.
Hearing care professionals began to provide ear wax removal as a service several years ago in the UK because it was becoming more difficult to have a GP (General Practitioner, Medical Doctor) provide the service. GPs are under pressure and wax removal takes time.
Initially, most UK and Irish based hearing care professionals provided ear wax removal with irrigation. However a few microsuction courses were set up and as people became certified, more and more professionals offered it. It seems to have taken off in the minds of consumers and most have heard about it and will request it.
Modern methods of ear wax removal are far easier than the ear syringing of old, they are safer and far more comfortable. Microsuction earwax removal is performed using a microscope which allows us to see what we are doing, and a medical suction device to suck out the wax. Microsuction ear wax removal is undertaken using a medical suction unit and something to allow the professional to see clearly what he or she is doing.
This is normally a microscope, loupe or endoscopic. A thin suction end piece is attached to the suction unit that can be comfortably placed inside the ear canal. A skilled practitioner will only make contact with the wax and not the patient’s ear canal or eardrum.
No water is being flushed into the ear canal like ear syringing or ear irrigation, instead the procedure is performed dry significantly reducing the risk of infection.
Earwax is naturally occurring and serves an important purpose. On occasion, earwax can build in the ear canal and can cause hearing loss or discomfort. For many people, Microsuction offers a quick and long-lasting solution to hearing loss. Years of excess wax build-up can be gently removed – providing an immediate improvement to their quality of life. It helps to protect and clean the inside of the ear by creating a natural protective layer. Other wax removal treatments such as syringing often completely clear the canal of all wax, leaving no protective layer inside the ear. Microsuction is a much more controlled treatment that allows your audiologist to carefully remove excess wax whilst preserving a necessary level of protection.
Usually Microsuction does not need pre-treatment with drops, however, 1 or 2 days of olive oil is generally considered the best preparation. Whilst examining your ear through visual aid, the Audiologist will safely remove the blockage in a pain-free movement. You should also be shown the condition of your ear before and after the treatment.
The Pro’s and Con’s of Microsuction
. No water used, so no mess
. A clear view of the ear canal while the work is being carried out which makes it safer
. Completely safe for people with perforations of the eardrum
. Completely safe for people with large mastoid cavities from surgical work
As with all medical procedures, there can be problems, generally, though problems are rare.
.Possible damage to or infection of the skin of the ear canal or the eardrum,
.Possible perforation of the eardrum,
.The procedure is noisy and may cause a temporary shift in your hearing thresholds
.The procedure may start or aggravate any existing tinnitus
.The procedure may cause temporary dizziness or discomfort
Generally speaking, there are two ways that damage to the ear canal or eardrum can happen. The first is if you move suddenly and the cannula jabs into. We take exceptional care to ensure that we brace our hand while the cannula is anywhere near your ear canal. The bracing is designed to ensure that if you move suddenly, we maintain control of the cannula and it is pulled out of your ear canal. With that in mind, there shouldn’t be a problem, however, it could happen.
Unfortunately, for some patients who suffer from chronic impacted earwax they may require the procedure repeating every couple of months