For most people, ear wax simply falls out by itself but, in some cases, it fails to do so and can be a real problem. When this happens, it can build up and can start to cause hearing loss, or tinnitus (a ringing in the ears).
There are simple remedies that can be tried at home to remove excess ear wax, but these don’t always work, or can be dangerous to your hearing and ear canal. When this is the case, you may consider other options, such as microsuction ear wax removal by a professional audiologist, which is very quick and effective at removing any excess wax that is causing blockages.
Below, we go into detail about what ear microsuction is, why it’s performed and what possible side effects you may experience following the procedure.
What is ear microsuction?
Ear microsuction is the removal of ear wax using a high powered microscope and a small, very thin, steel wand type fitting attached to a suction pipe.
The process starts with an audiologist examining the ear using a binaural microscope, whether in the form of head loupes (magnifying glasses) or a fixed microscope. Once a clear view of the ear canal has been obtained, the wax is carefully removed using low suction. The whole process takes just a few minutes, and most people report no discomfort during the procedure.
This is the most common way to remove ear wax build up from the ear canal due to its effectiveness, painlessness and safety.
What are the possible side effects of microsuction?
Despite the safety of microsuction, as with any procedure, it carries a small amount of risk and potential side effects. Most of these potential side effects are very rare, so there is no need to worry about having the procedure.
Some of the side effects that can occur are:
- Trauma to the ear
- Noise damage
Some people experience a little dizziness, faintness or a feeling of vertigo during the procedure or shortly afterwards. This is due to microsuction ear wax removal actually causing the temperature of the ear canal to cool down during the procedure, which can cause this feeling.
This side effect is only temporary and shouldn’t last very long following the removal of ear wax.
This is rare, but as with any procedure you undergo, there is a small risk of infection following microsuction ear wax removal. All tools used with microsuction are single use and discarded after each procedure making infection extremely remote and virtually unheard of.
However, if you do experience this, there are treatments that are very effective at clearing up any infections.
Trauma to the ear
As the microsuction ear wax removal procedure involves a tube being inserted into the ear canal, there is a small risk that some damage or trauma could occur in the ear canal or ear drum. This can occur from sudden movements by the recipient. In extremely rare cases, the eardrum can become perforated.
The equipment used during ear wax removal does generate some noise, which some find to be very loud. In minimal cases, this can cause temporary short lived hearing loss, known as a temporary threshold shift. This occasionally happens when tiny muscles contract to protect the ear against noise. There is also an extremely rare chance of tinnitus being caused, or existing tinnitus worsened.
Microsuction vs Syringing
Very few GP surgeries or audiology clinics offer syringing because of the potential damage that can occur known as iatrogenic causes due to clumsy syringing. That is why the vast majority of clinics offer microsuction. It is important to ensure the correct equipment is used and all our clinics perform the procedure with the very best purpose made suction machines and full freestanding microscopes for the best ear canal image. Microsuction does not require prior preparation of the ear with messy oils.
Syringing can only effectively be carried out after the ears have been oiled regularly for at least a week to soften the wax for irrigation. This is not required for microsuction and we would only advise putting oil in the ear for a few days only.
Syringing also puts a lot of pressure on the eardrum and can force debris onto the eardrum causing discomfort or pain and in extreme cases can perforate the eardrum.
We have invested in the correct irrigation machines used in ENT clinics where the water flow can be regulated and the procedure performed using a microscope for safety.
Ear microsuction FAQ
Why choose microsuction?
There are other ways of removing ear wax, for example, ear irrigation or ear syringing. However, these aren’t as effective or accurate as microsuction. As microsuction is performed without liquid, there is less chance of infection inside the ear compared to ear irrigation.
Microsuction is also more comfortable and more precise, as the audiologist is able to see directly into the ear canal with the image extremely magnified and illuminated. This enables them to ensure that all of the excess wax is safely removed. It is also suitable for those with perforated eardrums, while ear irrigation is not.
The main benefits of choosing ear wax microsuction over other forms of ear wax removal:
More precise, as the audiologist is looking directly into your ear canal with tools such as a microscope
Gentle, effective and safe procedure – it isn’t painful and is over in minutes
There is less risk of infection, unlike ear syringing and ear irrigation, as these are based on putting water into the ears, which can cause infection
Find out more about the different methods of ear wax removal.
Is ear microsuction painful?
Many people report that they like the sensation of microsuction and find it soothing. It is very gentle and immediately restores hearing. If tinnitus is present due to the ear canal being blocked, this is often alleviated when the blockage is cleared. There is a wind-like noise when the probe is in the ear canal and modern machines have greatly reduced operating noise. If the wax is very soft a soft sucking sound can be heard as the debris is sucked up the probe and into the tube.
How long does the procedure take?
The procedures can vary according to the amount of wax or debris present and in most cases lasts between 10 and 20 minutes in total.
Why choose South East Hearing Care Centres
At South East Hearing Care Centres, we understand the importance of safe and efficient ear microsuction. With our years of experience and access to top-notch hearing technology, we are here to help you with all your ear cleaning needs. Here’s why you should choose us for your hearing care.
Safety is our top priority, and we invest in the best equipment and constantly review our procedures to ensure maximum safety and efficiency. We attend ongoing training and review to stay up-to-date with the latest industry standards and practices.
Our team of experienced professionals has over ten years of wax removal experience at each of our clinics. We use a tiny video camera to take images of your ears before and after any procedure, providing you with visual evidence of the efficacy of the procedure.
We use full clinical microscopes instead of head loupes, which allows us to focus clearly and have both hands free. We only use state-of-the-art, purpose-made microsuction equipment or ear irrigator machines to provide the best possible care.
Before we proceed with any procedure, we complete a medical health questionnaire to ensure it is safe to continue. We understand the needs of our clients and will explain each step of the procedure both verbally and visually.
We carry out a thorough risk assessment and follow strict hygiene protocols to protect your ears from contamination. At South East Hearing Care Centres, we have been providing our services for over 25 years, and we take pride in our commitment to excellence in hearing care.
Choose South East Hearing Care Centres for your ear microsuction needs, and experience safe, efficient, and compassionate care.
Book a microsuction appointment
Ear wax build up can be a real problem for some people and that is where microsuction ear wax removal can help. Although it carries a very small amount of adverse side effects and risks, it’s a particularly safe, efficient, and effective way of removing problem ear wax.
If you have blocked ears and would like to book an appointment for microsuction ear wax removal, then get in touch with our team today. We have three clinics across the south east of England with an excellent reputation for care and high quality treatment.