Although it may be hard to believe, there are few medical procedures as instantly rewarding for both patient and doctor as a successful session of ear syringing! Some patients claim that it feels like a ‘miracle cure’! So what exactly is ear syringing and how do you know if it might help you?
The ear naturally cleans itself by producing a sticky substance called earwax which traps dust, dirt and germs. The earwax moves these along the ear canal to the outside where it then falls out of the ear, getting rid of all the potentially harmful substances. It is important not to ‘help’ clean the ears with cotton buds etc as this can actually push dirty earwax back down into the ear canal, leading to a greater risk of infection or blockage.
Usually the natural ear-cleaning process occurs without a problem, however occasionally wax may start to build up in the ear, eventually leading to a blocked ear canal. Signs of this may include discomfort, deafness in the ear or a whistling hearing aid.
Eardrops are a good first step to try to soften or loosen the earwax, and a pharmacist will be able to advise you on the best eardrops for your situation.* By adhering to the instructions, you should start to see results within a week.
However, if the blockage still persists after this time, it is a good idea to visit a GP who may recommend ear syringing. At The Walcote Practice in Winchester, Hampshire, all our expert private GPs are experienced in ear syringing and are able to offer you this service either in our clinic or in the comfort of your own home.
About ear syringing
During ear syringing (also known as ear irrigation), the GP will squirt a controlled flow of warm water into your ear canal as you sit comfortably. They may gently move your head or ear to ensure that the water reaches all parts of your ear canal. The doctor may repeat this process a number of times and will check on progress by using an auriscope to look into your ear.
Ear syringing does not hurt, however the doctor will ask you if it is causing particular symptoms such as dizziness which may indicate an ear infection.
Although ear syringing usually works well, it may not be successful for very extensive or persistent earwax. In such circumstances, our GPs will be pleased to offer you a referral to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist for further assessment and treatment.
* Please note that eardrops and ear syringing are not always appropriate for every individual, therefore you must always ask a pharmacist or a doctor for advice before commencing such treatments.