What is the micro-suction procedure?
The procedure involves the use of small instruments and gentle suction to remove wax blockages. Your nurse uses binocular glasses fitted with a bright light to maintain direct vision into the ear at all times. For more information about the procedure, click here.
Is micro-suction the same as having my ears syringed?
No, there is no water involved in the micro-suction and curettage procedure. This is a dry technique.
Why would I need my ears cleaned?
The ear is a self-cleaning organ. Wax is produced in the outer third of the ear canal and leaves the ear via migrating skin cells which work their way out from the eardrum at about the same rate as your fingernails grow. For a small percentage of the population however, wax does not remove itself naturally. This wax can then become impacted in the ear canal leading to symptoms.
What are the symptoms of wax impaction?
Signs of impacted wax can include (but are not limited to):
- Feeling of fullness
- Hearing loss
Who is more at risk of wax build up?
You may be more at risk of wax build up if you:
- Use cotton buds or other objects in your ear
- Wear hearing aids
- Regularly use ‘ear bud’ headphones
- Have narrow, bendy or hairy ear canals
- Suffer skin conditions such as psoriasis or dermatitis
- Work in dusty environments
- Are stressed
- Overproduce earwax
Who is the procedure suitable for?
The procedure is suitable for people with:
- An overproduction of earwax
- Perforated ear drums
- Problems in the ear canal where syringing is unsuitable
- Hearing aids
- Previous ear surgery – you may require a referral back to your ENT specialist
- Narrow ear canals
- Curvy ear canals
- Hairy ear canals
- Skin conditions like dermatitis or psoriasis
What does it cost?
Ear wax is removed for a flat rate of $115 in Tasmania, and $95 concession for veterans, pensioners and health care card holders Australia wide. If a second appointment is required this will be complimentary. This fee is paid at the time of the appointment via debit / credit card. This fee is partly rebatable through St Lukes Health or Health Care Insurance depending on your level of cover. Please contact St Lukes or Health Care Insurance directly to ascertain the amount of your health care fund rebate. If no wax is found in your ears at the time of your appointment, a reduced $60 rate applies.
Do I receive a rebate from medicare or my health fund?
This fee is partly rebatable through St Lukes Health and Health Care Insurance depending on your level of cover. Please contact St Lukes or Health Care Insurance directly to ascertain the amount of your health care fund rebate. The fee is not rebatable through medicare.
How do I pay?
To ensure the safety of our staff cash is not held or accepted on site. We accept payment on the day of the appointment via card, and can also facilitate payment over the phone if required. Your credit card payment is transmitted securely and processed in real time, and your credit card details are not retained by us.
Can anyone benefit from an ear clean?
Preventing symptoms related to wax build up is key to maintaining good ear health. A visit to Earworx once a year can assist in this process.
Do I need a referral?
Whilst your GP or audiologist may refer you to us, no referral is necessary.
Do I need an appointment?
Yes, but if you have an urgent problem we will do our best to see you the same day.
Does it hurt?
No. Some people may experience mild discomfort due to the ‘slurpy’ noise of the suction and during removal of very impacted wax. Occasionally mild dizziness may be experienced. If this occurs the nurse will stop the suction to allow the dizziness to settle.
How long does it take?
Approximately 15-30 minutes depending on how much wax is in the ear. If wax is very dry and impacted, softening may be necessary prior to removal to avoid trauma to the ear canal. A complimentary return visit is provided following a week if required.
Should I use softening drops in my ears prior to my visit?
It is helpful to use softening drops two days prior to your appointment to assist with removal, unless you have a hole in the eardrum or grommets. Our recommendation is to use olive oil – 4-6 drops in each ear administered whilst lying on your side for 5 minutes.
Is there anyone you don’t see?
We do not see children under the age of four years, people that have had mastoid surgery in the past, and those with complex ear histories who normally require care by an Ear Nose and Throat specialist. Please call ahead and ask to speak to the Registered Nurse should you have any questions.
I have a perforated ear drum – can you see me?
Yes. We use a dry technique and small instruments to remove wax, not water, so the procedure is suitable for those with perforated ear drums and grommets. If the nurse is unable to remove the wax, you may need a referral back to your ENT via your GP. Please do not soften your earwax prior to your appointment as these may be harmful to your middle ear.
I have exostoses or ‘surfers ear’ – can you see me?
Yes. We can remove excess wax sitting in front of or around the bony growths that may have been pushed down by cotton buds/earplugs. If the exostoses are very extensive, wax is trapped behind the bony growths, and/or your symptoms are not resolved at the end of the procedure, your Earworx Registered Nurse may recommend a return visit to your GP who may refer you on for specialist care. Earworx Registered Nurses may not be able to assist if exostoses are very extensive as visibility will be limited and specialist wax removal under microscopic vision may be required. Please call ahead and ask to speak to the Earworx Registered nurse should you have any questions. Please soften prior to your appointment.
We can provide you with chemist grade olive oil drops for use prior to your appointment if you wish – please drop into clinic to collect at the front desk. A number of other commercial softening products are also available from your local chemist.
Is micro-suction safe?
Yes. Micro-suction is the same gentle, effective and dry technique used by ENT specialists across Australia.
Do you see children?
We see children down to the age of 4 years – discussion with Earworx staff is recommended prior to booking. For safety reasons children need to be able to follow direction and keep reasonably still. Please phone 0475 841 033.
Do you see patients at a nursing home or visit businesses?
For visits to nursing homes or for group bookings please contact your nearest Earworx clinic directly (see clinic locations tab). Home visits are charged at a flat rate of $220 per session in Tasmania and Regional Australia and $240 per session in Mainland Capital Cities.
I wear hearing aids – how often should I book in?
If you have hearing aids it is a good idea to have your ears checked for wax build up every 3-6 months.
What qualifications do Earworx staff have?
Your qualified registered nurse has undertaken both a Nationally Accredited Course in Micro-Suction and Aural Hygiene, and a Course in Aural Care adapted from the Aural Care Certificate delivered by Mandeville Hospital in the UK. Read more About Us here.