Microsuction service

The audiology department has been working closely with our colleagues in Ear, Nose and Throat to support them with their Microsuction patients. We now offer regular microsuction clinics for patients referred via their GP or on long term review with the ENT department.

What is Microsuction?

Microsuction is a method of clearing wax or debris from the ear canal using a small suction tube. This process is used for patients that cannot have more straightforward syringing performed in primary care for various reasons, including perforated eardrums, mastoid cavity, or previous complications with syringing.

Getting an appointment

Microsuction can only be performed on patients who meet certain criteria. For patients where syringing is contraindicated due to certain otological conditions as mentioned above, then microsuction is the only safe method of having excess wax removed from the ear canals. For patients with no otological conditions, microsuction will only be offered if a patient has had syringing attempted in primary care (GP surgeries/Health Centres) and this has not been successful.

IMPORTANT – Unless you have been advised otherwise we would request that all patients coming for microsuction use drops in the ears to soften the wax for at least 5 days before their appointment – this makes the process more comfortable and more successful.

What happens in the appointment?

The audiologist will discuss some medical history with you to determine if there are any concerns or risk factors before the process begins. They will then examine the ears to check the status of the wax, and then have you lie on an examination couch, or on an adjustable examination chair. A microscope will be used to view the ears during the suction process, and the audiologist may use other instruments other than the suction probe to remove the wax. These include ear hooks, Jobson-Horne probes and crocodile forceps.

The suction probe can be rather noisy in the ear canal, and on rare occasions the process of microsuction can be a little uncomfortable. The audiologist will explain to you that if at any point you wish them to stop, you should say so immediately. Your comfort is our priority and on occasions the wax may require a repeat appointment to be removed safely and effectively.

Once the process is complete, the audiologist will discuss with you the plan for future appointments as necessary. Depending on the nature of the problem, patients may be given another appointment, given open access to self refer if any problems, or discharged from the clinic.

Last updated: March 10, 2020