ear syringing

Ear Syringing

What is ear syringing?

Ear syringing is a method of ear wax removal using a syringe of water to dispel any wax from the ear. Irrigation is similar as it also requires water, however, it is performed under a controlled pressure. Ear syringing is available in GP surgeries and is usually performed by the nurse.

ear wax removal Impacted ear wax requiring professional removal. This amount of wax would be difficult to remove with ear syringing and would require microsuction instead. Image taken using video otoscopy ear examination.[/caption]

Are there any risks with ear syringing?

Ear syringing involves using water so there is an increased risk of infections particularly if you are prone to ear infections. For this reason it is also unsuitable for anyone with a perforated ear drum. There is more of a risk of perforating the ear drum as it is performed ‘blind’ or not under direct observation.

Do I need ear wax removal?

Ear wax is normal, it is simply a collection of debris from our environment, natural oil and dead skin. Wax eventually works its way outwards, so you don’t need to do anything, not even use cotton buds. In fact, using cotton buds can push wax deeper. The skin in your ear canal is quite sensitive and using cotton buds can actually peel away the skin resulting in redness.

Quite often just using some olive oil (providing there is no history of infections or ear conditions), will help to remove small amounts of wax. You can find out which different olive oil/ear drop types are available by contacting your local pharmacy.

What if olive oil doesn’t work?

If olive oil doesn’t work then ear syringing is an option as mentioned above and this can be arranged by contacting your GP Practice. Unfortunately, due to the risks involved and waiting lists ear syringing isn’t readily available. The alternative is microsuction. This is performed under direct observation using a suction probe, so there are less risks than syringing or irrigation. Find out more about microsuction here.