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Sound Advice

Do you need ear wax extraction?

Before considering treating you, we will ask for a brief medical history in relation to your hearing health, and details of any medications you may be taking.  Our practitioners are qualified registered hearing aid dispensers (RHAD), and /or medically trained nurses, meaning we are qualified to understand the links between some conditions/medications and your ear health.

We will advise whether it is safe for you to receive microsuction, or irrigation; or a combination of these, including manual methods.  We know when to recommend referral to a medical professional, for example your GP or ENT consultant; and can also provide expert advice for ongoing ear wax management.

Please see the following frequently asked questions:

Ear microsuction is a relatively simple process using a non-invasive vacuum machine, without the use of water, to leave the ear dry and free of wax. We use high magnification which gives us an excellent view of the area we are working on. We are also able to evaluate the condition of your ear before treatment using a video otoscope. Clients usually express an immediate improvement in their symptoms following the removal of excess ear wax.

Most of the time, our ears keep themselves clean and free of debris, but there are occasions when this does not happen. If you have a build-up of wax or debris in the ear and are experiencing symptoms of having ‘blocked ears’, it may be advisable to have ear microsuction. However, if you suspect you may have an ear infection, please consult your GP before making an appointment with us.

Wax should naturally migrate out of the ear, but sometimes it gets stuck in the bends and builds up, becoming impacted, dry and solid. It can also become irritating and itchy. Ear wax is hydroscopic/hygroscopic which means if it comes into contact with water it swells up, causing the ear to become blocked.

People sometimes complain that they went for a swim, or took a bath, and then suddenly felt that their ears were blocked, and their hearing was reduced. Blocked ears often cause a ringing/buzzing sensation in the ears, or temporary tinnitus. Some clients report hearing their ‘heart beating in their ears’ – another typical symptom of blocked ears. In these instances, The Microsuction Company can definitely help you.

Microsuction enables us to reach wax and other debris that is impossible to otherwise extract manually. Clients tell us the process is more comfortable than other forms of ear wax removal. The main benefit following the procedure is usually a significant improvement in hearing quality.

Our practitioner will discuss any possible side effects with you prior to your treatment. It is important to keep your head still during the procedure because sudden movements can lead to accidental injury. In some cases, clients can feel a temporary dizziness, but this does not last long. There may be some minor discomfort for those clients who come to us, following advice from their GP, with an existing ear infection.

During microsuction, noise is generated by the equipment we use. Some people are sensitive to this noise, which may worsen existing tinnitus, although this is an extremely rare occurrence and normally only temporary.

Your ear canal may be vulnerable to infection following treatment until the ear produces more wax to protect itself. So, it is important to keep your ears dry (by using ear plugs) when washing your hair, showering, bathing or swimming, for a minimum of 4-5 days after treatment.

Microsuction should not cause any pain or discomfort. However, due to the sensitive nature of the ear canal, we take extra care to avoid touching the surface to prevent discomfort. Most clients find our microsuction procedure is completely painless, and they are delighted with the improvement in their hearing.

Many people choose to have an ear microsuction procedure on a regular basis to keep their ears cleaned and avoid build-up. We are happy to offer advice on this but only offer the procedure where we feel it will be beneficial to clients.

We allocate a 45min appointment slot, to include completion of our client form, initial screening, and the treatment itself. The length of your treatment will depend on the degree of blockage and whether one or both ears need to be treated.

This is an infection of the external auditory meatus or ear canal, and we would recommend that you see your GP first, as they can prescribe medication if necessary. However, if you have been informed by your GP that you have otitis externa, and have been prescribed eardrops, microsuction will remove the infective debris, improving your hearing and assisting effective recovery.

We advise you use ear drops/spray (such as Earol Olive Oil Spray) for at least 36 hours (or up to three days) before your appointment, especially if you believe the wax has been there for some time and is uncomfortable or painful. Please note, people who have had a confirmed diagnosis of ear drum perforation should avoid using ear drops.

Due to the nature of this treatment, and the equipment required to conduct it safely, we are unable to offer home visits at present.

Ear syringing should be avoided following some types of ear surgery, as well as for those with a history of ear infection or where the general condition of the ear makes it unsuitable. Your GP would be able to advise you on this and whether microsuction is a safer option for you.

If on examination there is no wax blocking your ears, our charge is reduced to £15 to cover the cost of your screening and video otoscopy. If a follow-up hearing test is necessary, this will require a second appointment.

Many GP practices no longer carry out ear wax removal, especially since Covid-19. Waiting times for NHS hospital ENT appointments have also been impacted due to the pandemic.
The alternative is to self-refer to our microsuction centre for immediate treatment and relief.

Historically, syringing has been used which involves water squirted into the ear by a syringe. Nowadays irrigation is used which affords more control. GPs usually advise loosening the wax by applying olive oil spray for approximately two weeks prior to an irrigation procedure to ensure the wax comes away easily. However, we advise that you use Earol olive oil spray for at least 36 hours and no more than 3 days in advance of your treatment with us. The Microsuction Company offers both irrigation and microsuction treatment.

Microsuction uses a gentle medical suction accurately applied to the ear wax. Our practitioners are highly trained and use high magnification, enabling them to see exactly what is happening throughout your procedure and remove the ear wax with absolute accuracy. Because microsuction gently draws wax from the ear using low pressure medical suction, it cannot push the wax further in, aiding a successful treatment.

Our current charge is £60 for one ear or £80 for both. We offer a microsuction loyalty discount to those clients who have purchased hearing aids through us. We must allow time for sanitising equipment and surfaces between appointments and this is reflected in the time allowed for your appointment.

In the event there is no excess wax present in your ears, the only charge to you is £20 for the initial screening and video otoscopy. We may also advise a further appointment for a hearing test.

While we can nearly always remove all your excess ear wax, microsuction can only restore your hearing to whatever level it was at before your ear(s) became blocked.

Some people feel that their ears are blocked, but during the microsuction procedure we do not identify any blockage. This may be due to an underlying hearing loss issue. Hearing loss is something that can creep up on you over time, and you are unaware until you become more conscious of the symptoms. In these cases, our practitioner can arrange an appointment to perform a hearing test and advise on the next steps to preserve and improve your hearing quality.

Please note that, whilst removing ear wax may result in improved hearing, there may be other underlying causes of hearing loss which wax removal cannot reverse.

Excess ear wax can cause a temporary hearing loss in its own right, or temporarily exacerbate a pre-existing condition such as tinnitus. If the tinnitus began after the ear wax blockage, then there is a very good chance that removing the excess ear wax will reduce the level of tinnitus or cure it completely. The likelihood of success is greater the less time the ear is left blocked without treatment.

We advise you seek advice from your GP on the treatment of blocked ears for your child. We are currently unable to offer microsuction to young people under the age of 19 years.

All our practitioners are fully trained in every aspect of ear health. We are registered hearing aid dispensers (RHAD) regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Our family-run company has more than 30 years experience in hearing health and audiology.

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