Frequently Asked Questions


What is ear micro suction?

Ear microsuction is the best and safest way to examine and treat the ear when carried out by experienced clinicians.

Microsuction involves the use of a microscope and a gentle suction device.


It is best used for:

• Removal of wax and foreign bodies
• Treatment of acute or chronic infections of the ear canal
• De-waxing of children’s ears (cooperative children above 4 years of age)
• Regular cleaning of mastoid cavities


When is earwax a problem?

Earwax is a normal secretion of the ear and has protective qualities, but it can cause pain and/or hearing problems when it becomes impacted in the ear canal.

The regular use of cotton buds, earphones, earplugs or hearing aids can contribute to this problem. People with dry skin and narrow or distorted ear canals can experience wax impaction.


Is microsuction different to ear syringing/irrigation?

Ear microsuction is performed by suction under the microscope and the clinician will look inside your ear at all times. As a result, the procedure is entirely safe and more thorough than ear syringing.

Ear syringing/irrigation is not advised in many cases and ear microsuction is the recommended treatment instead.

  • Click here to see the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence list of when ear syringing/irrigation is contraindicated

Do I need to use eardrops before I come to my appointment?

It is not absolutely necessary to use eardrops before ear microsuction, but the application of sodium bicarbonate eardrops twice daily for three days before the procedure is likely to make the procedure more comfortable for you.

In some cases, such as perforated ear drums or previous mastoid surgery, you might have been advised to avoid using ear drops and so in those cases you do not need to use any drops prior to the appointment.


Does it hurt?

If ear microsuction is performed by an experienced clinician the procedure is unlikely to be painful.

If you suffer with infection of the outer ear canal then the condition itself could be uncomfortable and so microsuction of the infected ear canal can be painful. You can help reduce some of the discomfort by taking your preferred painkiller an hour prior to attending your appointment.


Is microsuction safe?

Ear microsuction is the safest and the most effective procedure for examination and treatment of the ear when performed by experienced and well-trained clinicians who use good quality equipment.


How long will it take?

In most cases it takes up to 15 minutes to perform microsuction on both ears.

It is very important to keep as still as you can during the procedure. The ear canal is very small and it is in very close proximity to the eardrum. Even small movements can take the microscope image out of focus and so prolong the appointment duration.


I’ve had ear surgery in the past, is microsuction suitable for me?

Yes. Ear microsuction is perfectly suited and highly recommended for patients who have had ear surgery in the past such as: mastoidectomy, repair of the ear drum, grommet insertion, stapedectomy and refashioning of the ear canal. Ear syringing is contraindicated in these cases.


I have a perforated eardrum, can I have microsuction?

Yes. Ear microsuction is the safest method of cleaning ears with perforated ear drums. Patients who have perforated ear drums must not have their ears irrigated with water or syringed.


Can I fly after having ear microsuction ?

Yes, you can fly after having ear microsuction (unless advised not to fly due to other medical reasons).


Are you covered by AXA/BUPA/ other health insurers?

Unfortunately, many insurers in UK do not cover ear microsuction during GP consultations. If you have private medical insurance, please check with your insurer first. Otherwise, you will need to make the payment directly to the clinic at the end of the consultation by card, cash or by PayPal via our website (at the bottom of first website page).


Do you have step free access?

Yes, our clinic has step free access and is on ground floor.


What age children can have microsuction?

We recommend that children should be:
• at least 4 years old
• able to lie still on the couch for 10 minutes or so with help from a parent

The procedure can be noisy when using the suction machine, but we can remove earwax by using manual instruments and the procedure could be more acceptable if required.


I have another question that has not been answered above

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