Wax Microsuction Clinic
The Wax Microsuction Clinic at London Medical, in association with London Ear Centre, offers a comprehensive service for the timely and efficient management of problematic ear wax. Our expert Audiologists use this gold standard wax removal method to ensure that any build-up of ear wax is removed as quickly, effectively and safely as possible.
Also included as part the evaluation is a mini-consultation on ear care followed by a middle ear pressure test to assess the health of the eardrum. A report sheet on the health of the ears is also issued at the end of the appointment.
Further evaluations, such as hearing tests and/ or more detailed medical consultations, can also be arranged in-house as and where required.
What is Wax Microsuction?
Wax Microsuction is the gold standard ear wax removal technique. It involves the use of an air suction device at low operating pressure to remove wax from the ear, all performed under an operating microscope. It is the safest and quickest means to conveniently remove ear wax and allows full visualisation of the ear canal so that any touching of the sensitive skin layer or fine hairs within the ear canal can, in most instances, be avoided. It is advised that wax softening drops (such as Earol) are used by patients a few days prior to attending for wax removal.
What Is Ear Wax?
Ear wax blockage affects about 6% of the population and is one of the most common ear problems doctors see. Ear wax (Cerumen) is an amalgamation of substances, predominantly waxy oils and dead skin cells (Keratinocytes). It also contains traces of sebum in the mix, along with other substances such as squalene, cholesterol and triglyceride. It is a by-product of the thousands of Ceruminous glands (specialised sweat glands) which lie under the skin of the ear canal, and drain into the guard hairs lining the ear canal. Though ear wax does possess some protective properties, excess or compacted wax can occlude the ear canal and press against the ear drum, which may cause discomfort and impair hearing. This is when it needs removal.
Symptoms of Ear Wax build-up
- Blocked/ sensation of fullness in the ear
- Ear pain/ discomfort
- Hearing loss
- Ringing in the ear/ Tinnitus
- Itching or drainage from the ear canal
- Vertigo/ Dizziness
Your risk of developing problems from a build-up of ear wax is increased if you have:
- Narrow ear canals or ear canals that aren’t fully formed
- Hairy ear canals
- Bony growths in the outer part of your ear canal
- Skin condition of your scalp or pre-auricular area
- Hard wax
- History of recurrent impacted earwax
- Repeated ear infections
Your chances of developing an ear wax blockage are also increased if you:
- Use cotton buds – they can push ear wax deeper into your ear and pack it together harder, creating an ear wax plug
- Wear a hearing aid or earplugs, which can stop ear wax falling out of your ear naturally
- Are elderly–more at risk of having ear wax problems because ear wax becomes drier with age
Advantages of removing Ear Wax by Microsuction over Syringing:
Microsuction is performed under an operating microscope, with full visualisation of the ear canal and ear drum being maintained whilst removing wax allowing the clinician to clearly identify any outer or middle ear pathology. There are a number of benefits associated with this method of wax removal:
- Conducted under a high-powered operating microscope (with full ear canal visualisation)
- No water involved
- Wax and other debris suctioned out fully
- Clear specialised and assessed training guidelines on procedure
- Comfortable supine or seated position during procedure
- Relatively quick
Syringing is the traditional method of wax removal. It involves water being injected into the ear canal at high pressure, with the aim of trying to get behind the wax to force it out as the water seeps out of the ear canal. There are a number of problems associated with this method of wax removal:
- The procedure is done blind (without full ear canal visualisation)- high risk of clinical error
- Involves water entering the ear canal–high risk of ear infection
- High pressure of water injection–high risk of ear drum perforation
- Lack of proper specialised training guidelines on procedure–high risk of clinical error
- Heavy handed procedure–high risk of discomfort/ pain
- Not all wax is removed
People with the following are advised to use the Microsuction procedure to remove wax/ debris from their ears to avoid further complications:
- Perforated/ damaged ear drum(s)
- Outer ear infection (Otitis Externa)
- History of outer/ middle ear surgery
- Osteoma/ Exostosis (bony growths in ear canal)
- Stenotic (narrow) ear canals
- Regular wax build-up
- Ear pain/ sensitivity (otalgia)
- Eczema/ dermatitis in ear canal
- Hearing aid users
We also perform a middle ear pressure test (Tympanometry) once all the wax has been extracted as part of the procedure to ensure that the health of the middle ear can be assessed. This test displays how healthily the ear drums are moving, and provides an indication of the overall health of the middle ear.
Wax drops are very useful in wax management. They soften wax, which often enables it to find its own way out of the ear canal through the natural outward migration of the skin cells in the ear canal. However, drops do not dissolve/ eliminate wax on their own, and so should always be followed up with some form of clinical wax extraction such as Microsuction.
It is advised that everyone attending for a Wax Microsuction softens their wax with wax drops for a few prior to attending. We advise all attending patients use Earol Olive oil spray, which can be purchased from most Chemists our in-house Pharmacy.
A report sheet of the procedure is also provided at the end detailing the appearance of the ear canal and ear drum post Microsuction, along with the results from Tympanometry. If any abnormality is detected then this will also be documented and should a referral to ENT be required for more specialist treatment be required this will also be stipulated/ arranged in-house.
When you choose to book your Microsuction appointment with us we will give you advice about your outer and middle ear as part of an inclusive mini-consultation. Should further hearing evaluation be required, this can also be arranged in clinic in timely fashion. For further enquiries or to book an appointment please contact us and a member of our team will assist you.
Wax Microsuction (one or both ears, inclusive of a mini-consultation and tympanometry): £85
Mini-consultation only (inclusive of tympanometry): £50
Our service is also recognised by all major health insurance providers, and so you may be able to use your insurance policy to cover costs for this service as an outpatient procedure. Please check with your policy provider and obtain pre-authorisation prior to attending for an appointment if you plan to use this route for payment.
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