Patient Information Leaflet for Ear Microsuction/Irrigation

Ear Microsuction/irrigation is not risk free; therefore, it is only carried out if the ear is completely blocked with ear wax. Partial blockage of the ear canal only requires microsuction if you wear a hearing aid or need a special examination.

Ear microsuction has the following serious of frequently occurring risks:

Failure to remove ear wax, damaging or perforation of the ear drum or middle ear, ear infection, pain, discomfort, dizziness/vertigo, light bleeding, nausea and vomiting, worsening of pre-existing chronic tinnitus.

If you ever had surgery to your ears or have had a perforated ear drum, you must tell us before microsuction as this may mean we cannot perform the ear wax removal.

To minimise risk of injury, the wax should be softened with softening ear drops for at least 3 days before microsuction. Olive oil drops are well tolerated in most people.
To put in drops, lie on one side with the affected ear uppermost. Drop four or five drops of body warmed olive oil into the ear and leave in place for 10 minutes. You should remain lying on your side during this time, do not use cotton wool to “plug” the ear. The drops should be used twice a day for a minimum of ten days. Very rarely, the drops may cause discomfort, burning, itching. If this happens, stop using drops and seek advice from the practice.

It can be uncomfortable to have your ears suctioned but it should not be painful. If you experience any pain or dizziness during the procedure, tell the pharmacist immediately. It is important that the water is at a comfortable temperature, you must say if it is too hot or too cold.

After you have had microsuction to your ears, keep them dry for a few days, as the protective wax layer has been removed.

If you have continuing problems with ear wax, it may help putting in a few drops of olive oil once a week, to keep the wax soft and aid the natural movement of skin cells and wax.

Ear wax is a normal body secretion; it provides protection against infection and dust particles. The ear is self cleaning, and the wax works its way out naturally. Never use
cotton wool buds to clean inside your ears, as they irritate the delicate skin inside the ear canal, they will also push the wax back into the ear and compact it.

Narrow ear canals, hairy ears, ear wax getting dryer with age may predispose to build up of wax. Being in a smoky or dusty atmosphere at lot can also contribute. Earplugs, which may be mandatory in some occupations, can have a similar effect as cotton buds, causing irritation and impaction of wax. Hearing aids can interfere with the natural cleaning mechanism of the ear, causing debris to build up in the canal.

If you are unsure whether you wish to proceed with ear microsuction, have ever had ear surgery or drum perforation or are concerned about the risks detailed above, please do not sign the consent form as you will need to discuss this with the practitioner at your appointment prior to giving consent.
I confirm that I will tell my GP about my condition and the service supplied under this scheme.

I confirm that I have read all the above statements and have answered all the questions correctly.

I confirm that I have read the patient information leaflet that is accompanied with this service

I give permission:

  • for a staff member to conduct an inner ear examination using an Otoscope and I understand the procedure and accept the risks associated with ear microsuction. I agree that I do not have any of the conditions as detailed in the leaflet that may prevent me from undergoing ear microsuction.
  • for my details to be passed onto another healthcare professional if deemed appropriate
  • for a member of staff to contact me following my consultation and for the results to be used anonymously for evaluating the service