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South Gloucestershire
Ear Wax Microsuction Service

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to use ear drops before my microsuction appointment?
Ear drops are not necessary to use before microsuction. Microsuction works best on the untreated hard wax.

Does microsuction hurt?

Microsuction should be painless. You can sometimes feel a pulling sensation when the wax comes out and it can be a little noisy, but it is generally considered to be a comfortable procedure.

How long does it take?
Your appointment can take up to half an hour. The microsuction procedure itself often takes around 10 minutes.

I have never had microsuction done before, what does it involve?
The ear is examined with a small device before and after microsuction.​ During the procedure, a small plastic funnel is placed in the entrance of the ear and the suction tip is inserted into the ear and placed onto the wax. The wax is then suctioned out of the ear very gently until the ear drum is visible.

​All that is required from you is that you keep your head still. You should feel very little in the ear, but will be aware of the noise of the machine during the procedure.

​How much does it cost?
£50 for one ear, £80 for two.

How is it different to irrigation/syringing?

Microsuction removes dry wax from the ear a little bit like a vacuum cleaner, without the use of water.  This is unlike irrigation and syringing, which involve pumping water into the ear and then letting the water drain out, removing bits of wax with it. For irrigation to work effectively, the wax has to be very soft and loose and so you must use ear drops before irrigation. Microsuction, however, can be used on the untreated hard wax, so no ear drops are required.

​Microsuction is performed using special microscope glasses so the removal is very precise; the clinician can see exactly where they are in the ear and what they are removing at all times. Irrigation/syringing, on the other hand, is carried out blindly.

​Therefore, microsuction is considered to be safer than irrigation/syringing. Also, the water used in irrigation/syringing can increase the risk of infection and is not advised when there is a history of perforations, operations or infections.

​Is it safe?

Microsuction is considered to be a highly effective, safe method of wax removal by Ear, Nose and Throat doctors. It is safe to use on all types of ears, even those with perforations or a history of operations. It carries much less risk of infection and trauma compared to irrigation/syringing.

Can my child have microsuction?

Yes, but please note the machine is a bit noisy, and your child would need to keep nice and still. If that isn’t a problem, we should be able to offer the procedure to your child.

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South Gloucestershire Medical Services Ltd. Registered Office: 3 Church Lane, Coalpit Heath, Bristol, BS36 2SR, England UK.
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