As many of you may already be aware, we have now been advised to stop syringing ears for wax removal. This is because it has a higher risk of infection and ear-drum perforation than the alternative practice of micro-suction. Although, in the future there may be an option for providing syringing again in specific restricted cases, currently we are concentrating on using micro-suction only. This involves using a microscope to view the ear canal directly and low pressure suction to clear out the ear.
At Cuckfield we are lucky enough to have a micro-suction machine at the Vale surgery which means that we can provide this service in-house rather than referring patients elsewhere.
Unfortunately, this is a more complicated procedure and takes longer to learn and perform which does mean that at times there may be a wait for an appointment. Whilst we understand this can be frustrating, wax build-up is not dangerous and it is therefore safe to wait for this. For those patients who feel they are unable to wait, there is an option to pay to have it done privately by non-NHS providers.
In the rare circumstances where we have assessed that micro-suction needs to be performed for more urgent indications, (such as severe outer ear infections) we will endeavour to fit these patients in sooner or refer them for urgent ENT review at the hospital. However, as I’m sure you can appreciate, in times of current NHS funding restrictions, urgent referral is not appropriate for simple wax removal.
If you think you may require micro suction for blocked ears, please contact the surgery to book in an initial assessment appointment with a nurse or HCA who can check your ears and then arrange a further appointment for micro-suction. Unfortunately, in order to prevent wasted appointments for people who feel their ears maybe blocked but do not then require micro-suction, you are not able to book directly into these longer micro-suction slots.
You will normally be advised to apply warm olive oil in your ears for at least 2 weeks prior to your appointment as this softens the wax and makes it safer and easier to remove. It is common that this may initially lead to a sensation of increasing blockage but please do not worry as this is entirely normal and will typically resolve with continued use. In many cases, the oiling itself will dislodge the wax completely and you will not require micro-suction. Therefore, as these appointments are in high demand, if you think your hearing has improved and the blockage has resolved with olive oil, please cancel your micro suction appointment. If you are unsure, please arrange a further nurse/HCA appointment to check them.