Ear wax microsuction is a safe and quick way of removing wax and other debris from the inner ear. A suction device is used to remove hard or impacted wax while the medical practitioner uses a microscope to guide them in the procedure.
Impacted wax can cause pain and deafness as well as ringing in the ears and infections. If left untreated, a build-up of hard ear wax can cause tinnitus or vertigo and an increased risk of falls. Microsuction is the safest way of cleaning the ear of excessive wax.
What is ear wax?
We all know that ear wax is the greasy, yellowy, slightly gross build-up that is secreted in our ears. Ear wax is more formally known as cerumen (pronounced “se-roo-men”) and performs several important functions.
Cerumen acts as a barrier between the eardrum and the outside world and traps dust and dirt from entering the ear. It lubricates and moisturises the ear canal and contains antimicrobial substances that help prevent infection.
Ear wax is produced by glands in the outer ear canal and once produced, it travels slowly through the ear canal to the outer ear. If left, ear wax will usually fall out of the ear.
Why does ear wax build-up?
Around one in five adults and as many as 30 percent of the elderly will experience a build-up of ear wax which completely blocks the ear itself. Sometimes our glands produce more wax than is necessary which can become hard and impacted.
Some people are prone to too much ear wax but a common cause of blockage is also at-home removal efforts. The use of cotton buds or other objects to clean out wax can push it deeper and cause an obstruction.
How to remove a build-up of ear wax
You can attempt to soften hardened ear wax yourself at home but you should never try and dig the wax out as the ear canal is extremely sensitive and can become damaged.
Over-the-counter drops such as baby oil and glycerine can sometimes alleviate a blockage or you could try an irrigation kit sold by pharmacies. For anything other than a mild case, medical attention will usually be needed.
Ear Wax Microsuction
You can get ear wax microsuction at your local GP practice, but because doctors are under so much pressure these days, it can be difficult to obtain a prompt appointment. Many GPs no longer offer ear wax removal at their practice. As a result, private hearing professionals now offer the procedure.
Unlike syringing or ear irrigation, microsuction does not use water. This means the procedure is less messy and uncomfortable. Syringing can clear the ear of all wax which isn’t always healthy as some ear wax is required to maintain aural health.
Microsuction uses a small suction tube fitted with a fine end. It can be a good idea to use a wax softening spray for two days before the procedure. The procedure usually takes around 30 minutes.