Does anyone have any experience with microsuction for earwax removal?

Hi all,

I have a lot of earwax. I mean, you could stick wicks in my ears and use them as candles. It’s probably all quite impacted as well, I think.

It has been years since I had my ears syringed, and I kind of want it doing again, because the wax has built up to the point where it is uncomfortable. I do put oil in my ears, per the general advice, but I find that after a few days of doing this the wax all turns into a wet clump and just gets even more clogged - and doesn’t move - so I stop.

My GP (family doctor, if you’re American) no longer offers ear syringing, so I think my best bet is to get a wax removal done privately. This seems to be reasonably priced (around £50-60 for both ears).

Having done a bit of research online, there are a few national chains which offer earwax removal - many of the big name opticians, such as Boots and Specsavers offer audiology services, and there is a company called Earwax Clinic which seems to specialise in this.

All of these place seem to offer “microsuction” rather ear syringing. I’d never (heh) heard of this before, so I’m turning to the Dope for comments and experiences with this. All the websites of these companies say microsuction is safer and better than syringing, but then they would. Has anyone had this done, or know anything about it? If any UK dopers happen to have specific experience of a particular chain, that would be great as well.

Thanks :slight_smile:

Syringing is pretty safe when done by a professional.

Microsuction appears to be fairly safe as well:

In case you aren’t familiar with the word “cerumenolytics”, it means “products that soften ear wax”, like hydrogen peroxide.

I have not had it done but now knowing its out there I would consider it. I’ve had some real issues with syringing needing to be done twice or more because of wax getting jammed back deeper with/without the fluids.

Thanks, that’s interesting.

Thanks. I’ve used generic olive oil before, and not had good results (as per the OP) but nothing stronger than that.

I have never had earwax professionally removed. But I do sometimes drop a little hydrogen peroxide down my ears. It bubbles and chews away at the wax. One of the greatest moments of physical relief in my life was when I had an ear infection as a kid at camp. One of the symptoms was a lot of wax, filling the ear canal. Twice a day, the camp nurse put some hydrogen peroxide in the ear, and it fizzed. Then, one day, it fizzed for a bit and suddenly broke through the wall of wax, releasing the pressure behind that. Ahhhhhh.

They sell a kit at the drugstore with a small bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a bulb, for five to ten bucks. You just need to rest your head on the bathroom counter so one ear is vertical, put a few drops of the hydrogen peroxide in that ear, leave it for a minute or two and then rinse, using tepid water, with the bulb.

Before spending £50 at a clinic, see if these kits are available where you are and try treating it yourself.

Microsuction is safe IF it’s in the hands of a professional. Improper use can perforate eardrums pretty easily. A good ENT chair, a head mirror, and steady hands are required.

I got a little squirter (I wish I knew the real name, it looks like a blue bulb) that I put olive oil into, and squirt it into my ears every once in a while.

I only needed to pay for the “squirter” once, and I don’t need to use the olive oil all that often.

Edit: apparently the name is “rubber-bulb syringe”.

Doctors can prescribe ear wax removal medicine: you can see details here: Earwax blockage - Diagnosis and treatment - Mayo Clinic

Unca Cecil on earwax–candling and microsuction

I see nothing about microsuction in that article. Microsuction is a tried and true method used for over a century. Tiny vacuum pump, tiny hollow probe, gently directed by the operator. Nothing to do with ear candles or other nonsense like that.

I, too, am a prodigious maker of earwax, to the point that I have to have it removed about once a year, when it starts to affect my hearing (the OTC stuff is ineffective for me). I discovered that (at least in my area) the health clinic at Walgreens drug stores will do it, so if you’re in the US, and have a Walgreens (or a CVS) near you with a clinic, that might be another option.

Microsuction sounds intriguing, too.

I’ve had earwax removed by suction and it worked like a charm. The ENT was surprised that I managed to clog the suction tube; I’m not sure if I should be proud or embarrassed by that.

It’s not that hard to learn to do it yourself with hydrogen peroxided and a blunt-nosed syringe (like this). My doc showed me how to do it after I had a bout of issues with ear wax.

Just lay on one side and pour hydrogen peroxide in your ear. Leave it there for a good long time - 15 or 20 min or so. Use a towel to empty your ear and then do the other side. In my experience that’ll clean out a whole lot of wax just by itself.

Once you do that, fill a blunt-nosed syringe with warmish (not hot!) water. Gently irrigate each ear, sorta pointing the syringe towards the back of the ear. Don’t go crazy with water pressure. It should push out any remaining wax.

Worked for me.

Is pouring hydrogen peroxide into your ear safe?

I use that for toothpaste, and for cleaning contact lenses (a catalyst ensures the hydrogen peroxide is converted to water hours before it touches my eye).

I’ve put hydrogen peroxide directly on a (small) open wound. It’s an oxidizing agent, and can chemically break down stuff it comes in contact with, but it doesn’t damage intact skin. Basically, it breaks down into water and free oxygen, and then the oxygen interacts with whatever it touches. It’s an ingredient in some common medicines designed to be put into ears. Yes, it’s pretty safe to put it in you ear.

Yep, I did it on the advice of my doc. Never had a problem with it.

Debrox, which you can buy pretty much everywhere, is 6.5% Carbamide Peroxide*.
*Carbamide Peroxide is an agent composed of urea and hydrogen peroxide. As an earwax removal agent, carbamide peroxide releases, upon administration into the ear, oxygen and causes foaming which helps soften, loosen and remove excessive earwax.

Yes, it is, as long as you have an intact eardrum.