Ear Microsuction

Ear wax is produced by the body and protects the inside of the ear canal from injury and infection. As such it should

only be removed if it causes symptoms such as

• Pain

• Difficulty hearing

• Ringing in the ears

• A feeling of blockage

Causes

Common causes of excess wax occurring include infections in the outer ear, eczema, narrow ear canal, aging, making

too much ear wax and using cotton swabs or tools to clean the outer ear.

Methods of removal

Common methods of removal include cerumenolytics (such as waxol, cerumol etc), syringing or ear microsuction.

Due to a history of complications with syringing this is no longer available at Stirk.

Ear microsuction is now generally regarded as the safer and preferred option.

Cerumenolytics can still be used at home, but it is important to remember they should not be used in the presence

of infection or perforation of the ear drum. If there is any doubt about these conditions being present, then it is

suggested that you make an appointment.

If you have recurrent ear wax problems (requiring removal greater than once per year) it is recommended that you

use a cotton ball dipped in mineral oil and place this in the external ear canal for 20 minutes once per week

(combined with eight hours of not wearing a hearing aid overnight).

Another option is to use a topical emollient shown in clinical trials¹ (Ceridal® lipolotion) to reduce the recurrence of

wax (2ml in the effected ear/s once per week). An equivalent emollient liquid- (paraffin 70% cyclomethicone 15% buxus

chinensis (jojoba oil) 15% oil) can be purchased from compounding pharmacies (eg Pharmacy 777 Kalamunda) over the

counter.

Costs

Ear microsuction is a more costly option than syringing due to the need for additional time required, a doctor

upskilled in the procedure and consumables that are required per patient. At present our fees are $110

pensioner/health care card holder ($33.05 after rebate) and $140 standard ($63.05 after rebate) this for both ears

(no discount for one ear). Unfortunately, we have been advised that there is no specific medicare rebate for GPs to

use for this procedure apart from a standard consultation.

A repeat procedure is possible particularly in the case of an underlying infection. It is recommended that you use 2

to 3 drops of olive oil at least 3 (5 to 7 is preferred) nights before the procedure to improve chances of removal at

one sitting. Fill the ear slowly with oil to avoid airlocks whilst lying down for 5 minutes with cotton ball over outer

ear. Do not use if suspected hole in eardrum.

What is microsuction?

Microsuction is the precise suction of the ear canal while viewing the area through a

microscope. It’s the most advanced method of ear wax removal, and in the past was only

available from a specialist ENT clinician.

It provides a water-free alternative to removing earwax.

How long does it take?

Approximately 15-20 minutes

Is it painful?

No.

Ear-suction can be noisy, and you may feel some mild discomfort. If you experience any

pain or dizziness, you should let your doctor know and the process can be stopped

immediately.

What you need to do

Before your appointment, you need to use wax softening drops. Drops from the chemist

like Waxol or Olive Oil twice a day for at least 3 days prior to your appointment.

Please discontinue drops if ears become irritated or painful or if you suspect a hole in your

eardrum or trauma.

Direction for use

• Tilt head to one side or lie on your side

• Place 3 to 5 drops in the ear

• Keep head tilted for several minutes before turning to the other side

• Put a piece of cotton wool in the outer ear to keep oil from leaking out

• Repeat the same procedure on the other ear

Cost of procedure

Private $140 (rebate $76.95)

Pensioner Concession $110 (rebate $76.95)

Things that you should avoid

Do not use ear drops if you are suffering a

perforated ear.

Do not insert ear buds or other object in ears.