Have you been wondering if microsuction is safe?
In short, the microsuction technology itself is safe provided the practitioner performing the procedure has been trained in its use. Learning how to perform microsuction requires both a period of study and an extensive practical placement; it is not a procedure that can be learned online or within a day. Practical training in Australia currently can be difficult to source as the technology is relatively new outside of specialist services, and there are limited practitioners with enough experience to teach.
Read on to discover more about this advanced technology and the Earworx training program.
What is Microsuction?
The microsuction ear cleaning technique is similar to a tiny vacuum within your ear, used to remove hard and built up earwax via gentle suction. It is a dry technique; no water is involved; and it can be used safely where there is a perforated eardrum, grommets, or a current ear infection. There is no need to apply pressure to your ear canal or drum for wax to be removed as trained practitioners are taught the technique of applying suction only to the wax, and never to the canal wall or drum.
Earworx nurses across the country use this microsuction technology to gently remove earwax from hundreds of patients’ ear canals daily. Your Earworx nurse wears a magnifying glass with a bright light to directly observe your ear canal and drum during the procedure, enhancing safety.
Recommended by the Experts
Microsuction and ‘curettage’; the additional use of fine instruments such as a curette or forceps; is the earwax removal method preferred by Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist doctors. If you visit an ENT, this is the technique they will apply to remove any excess wax, debris related to infection or foreign bodies.
Operated by Experienced, Trained Professionals
Because microsuction is advanced technology and requires both specialised equipment and practical training, it is not available in all places that offer ear clearing services. Earworx has worked diligently over many years to create both a nationally accredited theoretical Earworx Course in Aural Care and an extensive practical course in microsuction and curettage, which is currently only available to registered nurses working within the Earworx network. Accordingly, all Earworx registered nurses are both safe and competent to perform this delicate procedure, removing wax safely whilst protecting your ear canal and precious eardrum.
Earworx nurses take your ear history, explain the procedure to you prior to commencing, check in with your comfort levels during the procedure, and provide you with education at the end of the appointment. Questions such as ‘why did this happen to me?’ and ‘how do I stop this happening again?’ are questions all Earworx nurses are trained to answer.
Visualise the Ear Canal
Our ears are very delicate parts of our bodies. One of the reasons microsuction is so safe and gentle is because Earworx nurses are trained in the technique of safe and gentle removal, and in addition are able to directly observe your ear canal throughout the procedure.
Microsuction performed by an Earworx nurse is a gentle procedure because every nurse is taught the techniques in ‘avoiding the canal wall or drum’; the ears are very sensitive and even a little ‘bump’ will cause pain in the bony section of the ear canal. There is no pressure applied to your eardrum by water as microsuction is a dry technique. It is very important you provide your Earworx nurse with a thorough history at the commencement of your appointment and keep your head still throughout the procedure.
You may experience a temporary itchy sensation inside the ear as your earwax is removed, but you should not experience any pain. If you find the procedure a little disconcerting due to the noise of the vacuum in your ear canal, you just need to chat to your friendly Earworx nurse who will work with you to overcome this, either by reassurance, using a smaller vacuum, or even using fine instruments as an alternative. The Earworx goal is to make your visit as comfortable as possible, so don’t hesitate to chat to your nurse if you have any questions; they love questions because they love talking about all things ears!
Quick and Efficient
An Earworx appointment runs for 30 minutes but the procedure itself is quite quick. When you are invited into the Earworx consultation room, you will be asked about your ear and wax history, the procedure will be performed (this can be completed in as little as 10 minutes), and you are provided with education at the end. So whilst the scheduled time is 30 minutes, Earworx nurses often have you away earlier. If your earwax is particularly hard and impacted, nurses may suggest softening and returning for a complimentary visit in a week’s time for removal.
Safe for Everyone
Unlike other techniques for removing earwax such as water syringing or flushing; microsuction is safe for people with ear conditions which prevent them having water in their ears. If you have a perforated, or non-intact eardrum, you have grommets, you suffer from outer ear infections, or you are a diabetic (and therefore more prone to infection) microsuction is recommended for you. Because microsuction is a dry technique that uses only small instruments to remove wax, instead of water, the procedure is safe to use with those ear conditions.
Microsuction can be used with people who have exostoses or ‘surfers ear’ and prefer not to have water in their ears. Microsuction is also safe for children over four years old, elderly patients and people who use hearing aids.
When to use Microsuction
Earwax is a naturally occurring substance which is actually good for our ears; it helps to both protect your ears from infection and keeps them clean by catching dust and dirt prior to it heading down the ear canal. It is produced continually but is normally carried out of the ear by a ‘conveyor belt’ motion of the skin layer. Wax often falls out of the ear without us even noticing! But sometimes too much wax is produced, or wax catches too much dirt, and earwax build up results. If you are suffering from excess or impacted earwax, you should consider microsuction.
You may not know that you have excess or impacted ear wax until someone actually looks into your ears e.g. your GP or an audiologist. Common symptoms of impacted earwax include a blocked or full sensation inside your ears, itching, pain (earache), or even a ringing sound known as tinnitus. More serious symptoms include dizziness or vertigo, and loss of hearing. If your ears block after swimming or bathing, this is also a tell-tale sign of excess wax.
The symptoms of impacted and excess earwax can be very uncomfortable and sometimes painful for sufferers. If you do produce a larger amount of earwax, or use hearing aids, it is recommended that you have your ears checked for impacted wax regularly.
Wax removal via microsuction is safe provided your practitioner has been trained in its use – always ask your treating practitioner about their level of training! All Earworx nurses have completed study and a practical placement to ensure they are equipped to deal with your annoying earwax related ear symptoms, to safely and gently remove built up earwax, and to educate you in how to better care for your ears.