Why Microsuction Is The Best Way To Remove Ear Wax

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” column_margin=”default” column_direction=”default” column_direction_tablet=”default” column_direction_phone=”default” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” row_border_radius=”none” row_border_radius_applies=”bg” overlay_strength=”0.3″ gradient_direction=”left_to_right” shape_divider_position=”bottom” bg_image_animation=”none”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_tablet=”inherit” column_padding_phone=”inherit” column_padding_position=”all” column_element_spacing=”default” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” column_link_target=”_self” gradient_direction=”left_to_right” overlay_strength=”0.3″ width=”1/1″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” bg_image_animation=”none” border_type=”simple” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text]Ear Care Lab specialises in microsuction ear wax removal, which research shows is the best way to remove ear wax.

Impacted ear wax or a build-up of wax can lead to blocked ears, hearing loss, and discomfort in the ears – it’s estimated that around one-third of older people in the UK experience this problem, and thousands of people undergo ear wax removal every week. Ear wax build-up can be more likely when external objects such as hearing aids and cotton buds are used in the ear canal, meaning more frequent ear wax removal may be required.

But why is microsuction the best way to remove ear wax, and how does it compare to other methods?

Traditional Methods Of Ear Wax Removal

The traditional method of ear wax removal used by most GP surgeries in the UK is ear syringing, which is also known as ear irrigation.

In the past, ear syringing was carried out using hand-held metal syringes, which were used to manually inject water into the ear at high pressure to flush out ear wax. These manual syringes resulted in variable pressure of water being injected into the external ear canal. As a result, complications were common, including external ear infections (Otitis externa), middle ear infections (Otitis media), and eardrum perforations.

Nowadays, ear syringing is performed using ear irrigation machines that apply a safer, more standardised level of pressure via special ear irrigator tips. However, this method of ear wax removal can still result in a large number of complications, which is why we recommend microsuction ear wax removal as a more effective alternative.

Microsuction Ear Wax Removal: What You Need To Know

Microsuction is an ear wax removal technique that’s more comfortable and more effective than ear syringing. Ear microsuction is carried out by either a binocular operating microscope or specialised magnification loupes, which allow the clinician to have a clear view of the ear canal and any wax inside.

A fine sterile suction device is then used to remove the ear wax with a low level of pressure – the sensation is a little like having a vacuum cleaner inside your ear, sucking out the ear wax. This means that there’s minimal need for our instruments to touch the earlobe, making it a more comfortable ear wax removal procedure than syringing.

Sometimes, particularly stubborn ear wax may need removing using another instrument such as Jobson Horne probes or micro forceps to ensure thorough ear wax removal.

Is Microsuction Better Than Syringing?

Although ear syringing is often GPs’ go-to method for ear wax removal, there has not actually been any large-scale data published on its effectiveness for some time. The last large study on ear syringing was carried out over 30 years ago in 1990 (Sharp et al, BMJ, Dec 1990, v301, 1251), when 312 GPs serving a population of 650,000 patients were surveyed in Edinburgh. The research showed that:

  • 85% of GP practices offer ear syringing, but only around 19% of GPs actually perform the procedure – it is usually delegated to practice nurses or healthcare assistants
  • Failure of ear wax removal occurred in 29% of ear syringing cases
  • Otitis media and Otitis externa (middle and external ear infections respectively) occurred in 17% of patients following ear syringing
  • Eardrum perforation occurred in 15% of the ear syringing cases studied
  • Trauma to the external ear canal occurred in 11% of ear syringing cases

A more recent – now decade-old – systematic review (Cleg et al, Health Tech Assess, Jun 2010, 14 (28), 1-192) found limited good quality evidence on the safety, benefits, and costs of the different strategies of ear wax removal.

Expert opinion is fairly consistent in terms of support for ear microsuction as the safest and best ear wax removal method over syringing, as microsuction typically results in the lowest prevalence of complications. However, no procedure is risk-free, but ear microsuction offers several advantages over syringing, including:

  • Ear microsuction may be used even in the presence of ear drum perforation
  • Microsuction is the only technique that’s safe to use for ear wax removal in the event of an external or middle ear infection
  • The complication rates relating to microsuction are vastly reduced in comparison with ear irrigation

Read more about ear microsuction vs ear syringing.

Why Microsuction Is The Best Ear Wax Removal Method

At Ear Care Lab, we only use microsuction ear wax removal as it’s the best way to remove ear wax – we do not perform ear syringing or irrigation.

When performing ear microsuction, we are able to view the external ear canal under high magnification at all times, while we can also use video-oto-endoscopes for even more detailed viewing. All of our ear wax removal procedures and consultations are performed by experienced doctors – no nurses or healthcare assistants perform microsuction in our clinics.

Data from our own microsuction ear wax removal clinics shows that:

  • No incidents of otitis media (middle ear infection) have been reported following ear microsuction
  • We have had no incidents of eardrum perforation
  • Otitis externa (external ear infection) occurs in less than 1% of our treatments. We have also found that in these patients, the external ear canal was already inflamed prior to microsuction starting, as the patient had used sodium bicarbonate or hydrogen peroxide-based softening drops for longer than advisable. These drops can be irritant to the skin of the ear canal after prolonged use, which can lead to inflammation, skin breakage, and a higher risk of bacterial infection
  • Failure to complete ear wax removal occurs in around 5% of our patients. Usually, these patients have extremely hard or immobile ear wax and need to use softening ear drops before any further attempts at microsuction. The failure rate falls to 0.5% at the second visit, with only a handful of patients ever requiring a third visit

All of this evidence indicates that microsuction is the best ear wax removal method in terms of patient comfort, effectiveness, efficiency, and subsequent infection.

Try The Best Ear Wax Removal Method For Yourself

Overall, it is our belief that ear microsuction is the gold standard, best way to remove ear wax or debris to provide relief from the symptoms associated with a build-up of ear wax, and to treat external ear infections. Book an appointment for ear microsuction at Ear Care Lab today, or contact us if you have any more questions.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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