Obtaining A Good View of The Ear Canal

True hearing Horley

Following an initial discussion regarding your health and hearing, we begin by examining your ears using a fibre-optic camera. The camera sits just at the entrance of the ear and enables both you and the audiologist to view your ear canal and eardrum on a large screen. We will examine both ears, before proceeding with any wax removal required. Following treatment, we will show you your ear canals and drums again, this time without any wax blockage.

We also use endoscopic ear wax removal at our practices and to learn more, please contact us. Ear wax, or “cerumen” to use the medical term, is a good thing to have in our ears. This is because it protects the skin of the human ear canal and it also assists in cleaning and lubrication.

Microsuction is an important part of our ear consultations. It is safe, gentle, and comfortable. When you have a consultation you will lie straight and flat on your back as this is the safest position for microsuction. The ear nurse therapist will gently hold your ear so that the ear canal entrance is open and easy to view (sometimes the nurse will use a plastic funnel to gain the best view). The microscope is then focused on the ear canal entrance. The nurse will use microsuction and/or tiny instruments to retrieve ear wax and diagnose ear problems. When we use suction and instruments, clients often say “that tickles”, “that feels weird” or “it’s a bit noisy”.

In contrast, endoscopic ear wax removal uses a fine 2.8mm endoscope inserted partway into the ear canal. The endoscope is a rod containing fibre-optics to relay light from a light source to illuminate the canal and a solid lens (or series of lenses) to relay the view from inside the canal to the outside. The endoscope can be either viewed directly, or imaging equipment can be attached to provide better magnification.

As the name suggests, microsuction employs a tiny suction tube to gently remove excess wax from your ear canal. We also use a microscope to target locations where the wax has built up. Because we have a better view of your ear, microsuction is faster than irrigation, typically lasting just a few minutes. It is generally considered free from discomfort and like irrigation we usually ask that you use sodium bicarbonate eardrops beforehand.

Unlike ear syringing or even the safer ear irrigation, there is no water used, which means less mess generally. When undertaking micro-suction, the canal and the ear wax is being directly viewed with a microscope or a set of loupes (microscopic glasses) whilst it is being removed. This makes the procedure much quicker, safer and comfortable for the patient.

Earwax should be removed if it is totally blocking the ear canal and one of the following: the person is symptomatic (with conductive hearing loss, earache, tinnitus or vertigo) the tympanic membrane is obscured by wax but needs to be viewed to establish a diagnosis the person wears a hearing aid and an impression needs to be taken for a mould, or wax is causing the hearing-aid to whistle.

Microsuction Ear Wax Removal

Following an initial discussion regarding your health and hearing, we begin by examining your ears using a fibre-optic camera. The camera sits just at the entrance of the ear and enables both you and the audiologist to view your ear canal and eardrum on a large screen. We will examine both ears, before proceeding with any wax removal required. Following treatment, we will show you your ear canals and drums again, this time without any wax blockage.

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