Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do I need to use oil in my ears before having microsuction?

A. Putting a few drops of olive oil or almond oil in you ears the night before the procedure can make removal quicker and easier. However, in the vast majority of cases, microsuction removes wax without any prior treatment.

Q. Who will carry out the procedure?

A. Not all audiologists are qualified to perform wax removal. At Castle Hearing, our audiologists have undergone further training and certification to enable them to provide this service, ensuring our clients receive professional advice and safe, effective practice.

Q. Although I have frequent problems with ear wax, my GP has said that it’s inadvisable to have my ears syringed too regularly. Is this also true for microsuction?

A. With syringing, the stream of water inevitably has to hit the eardrum, which is a sensitive and delicate structure. Some estimates suggest that syringing causes in the region of 10,000 perforations each year in the UK. With microsuction, the suction probe doesn’t have to go near the eardrum: it attaches to the blockage, allowing it to be drawn directly out of the ear. This means less physical trauma, making the procedure more comfortable and safer to repeat regularly. It also makes microsuction a safer option for those with permanent perforations or a history of ear surgery.

Q. My friend went to an alternative therapist to have her ear wax removed using a ‘Hopi candle’. Would you recommend this?

A. Unfortunately there’s a distinct lack of clinical information on the effectiveness of Hopi candles for removing ear wax. Anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that they are essentially harmless, but there seems to be a question mark over how successful the treatment is. The candle consists of a cloth tube which has been impregnated with beeswax or paraffin wax. The tapered end of this is inserted into the ear canal and the other end is lit, the theory being that the flame melts the ear wax and creates negative pressure in the canal which draws the wax out into the candle, appearing as a brown deposit after the procedure. However, it is commonly asserted that this deposit is actually part of the candle itself, since limited experiments seem to show that it appears regardless of whether the candle is burned while inserted in an ear or not. It’s also unlikely that any practitioner of this treatment would be able to offer video otoscopy to prove that the ear wax has actually been removed.

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