Ear syringing, also known as ear irrigation or ear flushing, is a procedure used to remove excessive earwax or debris from the ear canal using a specialized ear irrigation device.
Here are some important points about ear syringing:
The primary purpose of ear syringing is to remove impacted earwax or foreign objects that may be causing discomfort, hearing loss, or other symptoms.
During ear syringing, warm water is gently sprayed into the ear canal using an irrigation device. The water dislodges the earwax or debris, and it is then drained out of the ear. The procedure is typically performed by a healthcare professional, such as a doctor, nurse, or an ear care specialist.
Using oil drops in the ear before ear syringing can help soften and loosen the earwax, making it easier to remove during the procedure. Please read more below*.
While ear syringing can be effective in removing earwax or debris, it is important to note that it is not suitable for everyone and may have some risks. For example:
- Ear syringing should not be done if you have a history of ear infections, a perforated eardrum or any other ear condition. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine if ear syringing is appropriate for you.
- There is a risk of injury to the ear canal or eardrum if the procedure is not performed correctly or if excessive force is used. It is essential to have the procedure done by a trained professional to minimise the risk of complications.
- If you have a history of ear problems or if you are experiencing pain, discharge, or other concerning symptoms, it is important to seek medical advice before undergoing ear syringing.
Alternatives to Ear Syringing
Depending on the specific situation and the individual’s ear condition, there may be alternative methods for earwax removal, such as ear drops, microsuction (using a specialised suction device) or manual removal by a healthcare professional using instruments like a curette or forceps. These alternatives can be determined by a healthcare professional based on the specific circumstances.
It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to assess your individual situation and determine the most appropriate method for earwax removal. They can evaluate your ear condition, discuss the risks and benefits of ear syringing or alternative methods, and provide personalised recommendations based on your needs.
*Using oil drops in the ear before ear syringing can help soften and loosen the earwax, making it easier to remove during the procedure.
Here’s how you can use oil drops:
1. Choose the right oil: Use a suitable oil for earwax softening, such as mineral oil, baby oil, olive oil, or hydrogen peroxide-based ear drops. It is best to consult with your healthcare professional or pharmacist to determine which type of oil is most appropriate for you.
2. Warm the oil: If using mineral oil, baby oil, or olive oil, warm the oil slightly to body temperature. You can do this by holding the bottle in your hands for a few minutes or placing the bottle in warm water. Avoid using hot oil, as it can cause discomfort or injury.
3. Lie down on one side: Tilt your head to one side or lie down on your side with the affected ear facing upwards. This position allows the oil to flow into the ear canal easily.
4. Administer the oil drops: Using a clean dropper or following the instructions provided with the ear drops, instill a few drops of the oil into the ear canal. Gently pull the outer ear upward and backward to straighten the ear canal and help the oil flow in.
5. Stay in position: Remain in the same position for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the oil to penetrate the earwax and soften it. You may place a cotton ball or clean tissue at the ear opening to prevent the oil from dripping out.
6. Repeat for the other ear: If both ears require ear syringing, repeat the same process for the other ear.
7. Follow healthcare professional’s instructions: It’s important to follow any specific instructions given by your healthcare professional or ear care specialist regarding the use of oil drops before ear syringing. They may provide specific recommendations based on your condition.
It’s worth noting that while oil drops can help soften earwax, they may not be effective for everyone. In some cases, your healthcare professional may advise against using oil drops, such as if you have a perforated eardrum or a history of ear infections. It’s important to consult with your healthcare professional before using any ear drops and to follow their guidance for your specific situation.