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This service is for adults suffering symptoms of a build-up of ear wax. Ear wax production is a normal physiological process which aims to clean the ear canal and prevent debris from reaching the tympanic membrane (ear drum).

Sometimes, an excess of wax builds up and becomes impacted, partially or totally occluding the ear canal. Where the ear canal is blocked with wax, removal can offer relief from symptoms.

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About Our Service

We first recommend an examination of your ear to assess the cause of symptoms you are experiencing. Our Ear Care Specialist uses a specially developed endoscope to capture a high resolution image of the inside of your ear canal and tympanic membrane (ear drum). If there is a significant amount of wax, discharge, infection, inflammation, trauma or foreign body inside the ear, appropriate advice will be given. Foreign bodies can be removed and medication to reduce inflammation may be offered.

An excess of Ear Wax can become dry and impacted or remain wet and 'plug' the ear. The physiology of the ear lends itself to self-cleaning and should gradually remove wax and debris itself, however, this process can take a significant time. Olive oil formulated for use in the ear can help soften wax and make it easier for the body to expel.

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Ear Wax Removal

Irrigating the ear with water is an option for cleaning the ear, although this is now less frequently recommended due to the risk of trauma, perforation or introducing infection into the ear, this should only be done by a qualified person. Self irrigation or using cotton buds is never recommended.

Our Ear Care Specialist Pharmacist can offer ear wax removal, including micro suction, as an alternative to solving problem ear wax. This includes using a small suction probe to remove excess wax and draw out any debris, giving quick relief to symptoms.

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How is Endoscopic Ear Wax Removal performed?


Endoscopic ear wax removal is when ear wax is removed from the ear with the help of an endoscope. The endoscope is used to directly visualise the ear wax whilst it is being removed using either ENT micro-instruments (e.g. ear hook, jobson horne) or gentle suction with a low pressure suction machine and fine sterile probe. This is known as ‘endoscopic ear suction’ or ‘E-suction®’.

The procedure is performed by an Ear Care Specialist using an ‘ear’ endoscope (oto-endoscope). An endoscope is an instrument used to look inside the body and is usually attached to a video monitor for easy viewing, although direct viewing is also possible through the eyepiece of the endoscope. We have a specially designed video oto-endoscope for ear wax removal called the ‘iCLEARscope®’. The tip of this light-weight, portable and easy to operate video oto-endoscope is placed into the ear canal opening to provide a high-definition (HD) and wide ‘panoramic’ view of the entire ear canal and ear drum to facilitate effective ear wax removal.

How long does it take to perform Endoscopic Ear Wax Removal?


Endoscopic Ear Wax Removal typically takes between 10 to 25 minutes to perform. This can vary depending on the amount and type of ear wax, how deep the ear wax is inside the ear canal, if ENT instruments or E-suction® is being used and whether you are having one or both ears treated. It is usually performed with you comfortably sat on a chair with your head titled to the side slightly so that the ear with ear wax can be easily accessed.

How many treatments are needed?


Unlike ear syringing or ear irrigation, where ear wax is flushed out ‘blindly’, with endoscopic ear wax removal the ear wax is being directly viewed with the endoscope whilst it is being removed. This makes the procedure much quicker, safer and more comfortable.

One appointment is usually all that is required to remove wax, however, if wax has become significantly dry or impacted, a second visit may be required after a period of self-care using ear oil or softening solution.

What are the benefits of Endoscopic Ear Wax Removal?


Other benefits of endoscopic ear wax removal and E-suction® include:

  • A much wider view of the ear canal and eardrum compared to a microscope.
  • There is not always the need to apply ear drops for wax (e.g. olive oil or sodium bicarbonate ear drops) for several days or weeks beforehand, which is the case with ear syringing or ear irrigation. Nonetheless, the use of ear drops is still recommended where ever possible for one or two days prior to having endoscopic ear wax removal performed.
  • No water is being flushed into the ear canal like for ear syringing or ear irrigation. Instead the procedure is performed ‘dry’ significantly reducing the risk of infection and accidentally ‘pumping’ ear wax deeper into the ear canal.
  • Unlike ear syringing and ear irrigation, it can be performed in people who have a perforated eardrum or grommet, mastoid cavity and cleft palate, in addition to any foreign object (e.g. children’s marble) that may be lodged inside the ear canal.

What are the limitations and side effects?


Endoscopic ear wax removal is regarded as being safe and well tolerated. In fact, it was clinically found to be quicker, easier and more comfortable than microscopic ear wax removal in clinical studies comparing the two approaches. However, no treatment of ear wax is completely ‘risk-free’. Some of the risks and side effects of ear wax removal shared with endoscopic ear wax removal include:

  • Damage and trauma to the ear canal and eardrum (including perforation).
  • If E-suction® is being performed a loud noise can be generated in the ear canal due to the suction. In some people this can cause hearing loss (temporary or permanent) and tinnitus (ringing type noise inside the ear) or worsening of it if already experienced. This is rare.
  • E-suction® ‘cools’ the temperature inside the ear canal which can lead to faintness, dizziness or vertigo. This is due to the ‘caloric’ effect and is normally short lasting.