Water Irrigation/Ear Syringing

Water irrigation for ear wax removal is a tried-and-tested method that millions have used and recommend.

What is Water Irrigation?

Water irrigation is the method of ear wax removal mostly used by primary health care facilities – though funding for this is service in GP surgeries is slowly being withdrawn.

Based upon traditional ear syringing, water irrigation consists of a jet of water being used to flush wax, debris or foreign bodies out of the ear canal. It can be performed by any trained healthcare or hearing care professional.

Water irrigation aims for a similar conclusion to water syringing but employs a much more controlled manner.

Water Irrigation and Syringing

Ear wax removal using water irrigation is also commonly referred to as ‘ear syringing’.

Ear irrigation employs a specialised electronic tool – snappily titled an ‘ear irrigator’ – which controls and maintains both the flow and temperature of the water for a precise procedure.

In addition, the device aims for the wall of the ear to avoid the eardrum as much as possible.

ear syringe

How should I prepare my ears for Water Irrigation?

We advise using olive oil drops for the three days prior to your wax removal appointment to help soften the wax. If you are desperate and able to get a same-day appointment however, oiling is not always necessary, and the Audiologist or nurse may be able to remove the wax anyway. Softening the wax does increase the likelihood of total removal on the first appointment, however, if the wax cannot be removed in full a second appointment is booked at no extra charge.

Over the counter drops such as Otex or Sodium Bicarbonate can offer some relief and soften the wax, however as the skin inside your ear canal is sensitive and can react very differently from person to person we do not recommend using anything other than olive oil before Water Irrigation.

What Happens During a Water Irrigation Ear Wax Removal Appointment?

At Hear4U our Audiologist or nurse will begin your appointment by going through your medical history and a consent form as well as any previous history of earwax removal. Your ears will then be checked with an otoscope and you will be shown your ear canals on the TV screen with a video otoscope (only if you want to see – some people prefer to see inside only once the ears have been cleared!).

The procedure will then be explained to you and so that you do not get wet a towel will be placed over your shoulder and you will be asked to hold a cup against your jaw under your ear to catch the water flushing from the ear canal. Once the canal has been cleared, the audiologist will dry your ear with cotton wool and show you your ear canal on the screen. You will be taken through how to look after your ears after water irrigation. The procedure is allotted 30 minutes but the time taken to clear your ears will depend on how blocked your ears are and how soft the wax or debris is.

Some key advantages of Water Irrigation are as follows:

  • Irrigation can often remove sticky wax that Microsuction cannot remove – sticky wax can continuously block a suction tube.
  • It is generally a faster procedure than Microsuction.
  • It’s a lower cost option compared with Microsuction and Endoscopic Microsuction.

How Should I care For My Ears After Water Irrigation?

It is important that you should keep your ears from getting wet for 7 days after you have had Water Irrigation treatment. Place some cotton wool at the entrance of the ear canal before showering and do not submerge your head into the water.

If you have had very large amounts of hard wax removed, you can experience a sore ear after the procedure – this will resolve in a few days and we would advise you not to put anything into your ear while it is settling. If you are experiencing prolonged moderate-severe pain, then you could have an underlying infection in which case we recommend you visit your GP or call one of our trained staff.

What If My Ears Still Feel Blocked After Water Irrigation?

There are a few reasons that your ears could still feel blocked after Water Irrigation:

  • Having blocked ears for weeks or months can cause a lot of pressure to build up, which will then relieve once the blockage is removed, but occasionally it can take time for this pressure to disperse. 
  • If you have a prolonged feeling of fullness, it may be that you have congestion behind the eardrum, in which case removing blockages from the canal will not ease the feeling of it being full. 
  • Hearing loss that is related to wear-and-tear typically begins with the loss of higher frequencies of sound. This causes a muffled feeling and/or the lack of clarity in speech. It may be that even though some of your hearing has been restored after Water Irrigation has removed a blockage, you have an underlying hearing loss condition. You can speak to the audiologist who conducted your wax removal appointment to find out more about this and they can offer you a hearing test. 

Important Earwax Removal Terms & Conditions

For all wax removal appointments we take a £40 non refundable deposit at the time of booking. This amount can vary if you choose to have a home visit earwax removal instead.

To avoid additional appointment charges we strongly advise putting olive oil generously into your ears for at least 3-5 days prior to your appointment. Please turn up to your appointment 5 minutes before in order to fill out your medical and consent form.

Failure to turn up on time for your appointment may result in us being unable to take your ear wax due to lack of time.

For the full Terms and Conditions please see the “Ear Wax Removal Policies” section on our website – https://www.hear4u.co.uk/policies-and-procedures/

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