What is Exostoses
Surfers, swimmers, and divers are often exposed to cold water and wind. In response to the harsh combination, the ears attempt to protect the sensitive ear drum by producing bony growths.
However, unfortunately the growths do not diminish, in fact, they often continue to grow. Overtime, this causes narrowing of the ear canal, which in turn, can cause issues such as water trapping leading to infections, tinnitus, moist migrating skin, and hearing difficulties.
What does it look like?
How can Micro-suction help?
Micro-suction can help to remove the moist migrating skin and ear wax to prevent infections and future blocking.
If the bony over growths are close to completely occluding the ear canals, you may need a referral to an ENT specialist for surgery.
Outer Ear Infection
What causes an outer ear infection?
also referred to as swimmers’ ear or otitis externa
When the ear canal is exposed to water or moisture it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. An excessive amount of ear wax can trap water in the canal, making an indiidual prone to infection.
How can Micro-suction help?
The Registered Nurse (who is specialised in ears) has a highly magnified view of the ear canal – this allows a clear view to identify the type of infection (bacterial or fungal). Next, the infected debris is removed with the gentle vacuum. By removing the debris, it allows medicated ear drops to attack the infection more effectively and efficiently, as well as preventing additional bacteria or fungus from growing back.
If you are prone to ear infections, regular ear wax removal prevents water trapping.
How can our Nurses help?
After microsuction, the RN may recommend a medicated ear drop to aid in clearing the infection – you may need to visit your GP who will assess these recommendations. It is quite common to return for 2-3 sessions of micro-suction if your infection is on-going or more aggressive. Our nurses will provide tips and recommendations in regards to clearing and preventing ear infections.
- Pain or discomfort in the ear
- Discharge of pus
- Excessive fluid drainage
- Muffled or diminished hearing
- Facial, head or neck pain
Why do ears make wax?
Wax protects the ear canals from dust, foreign particles, and microorganisms, as well as protecting the ear canal form irritation due to water. For most individuals, excess wax drains naturally from the ears – however, some people’s glands make more earwax than necessary, therefore creating a blocked, itchy, or sore sensation in the ear. Excessive wax also may cause a ringing or buzzing sound in the ears or temporary hearing loss.
Those who wear in-ear devices such as hearing aids and earphones are prone to excessive wax production.
What are the symptoms of wax?
- Blocked ears after swimming
- Difficulty equalising your ears
- Ear pain during diving or flying
- Recurrent ear infections
- Difficulty hearing
- Weeping ears
- Itchy ears
- Jaw pain
- Clicking sound when you swallow
How we can help
Microsuction removes excess ear wax, therefore it helps to relieve itchy, blocked, sore and ringing sensations. Most people require this service once annually, however our ear nurse will recommend a time frame that may be suitable for you.
Before my appointment
Placing ear wax softening drops in ears prior to your appointment is not necessary unless you:
- Have recently had failed syringing more than once
- Are a child under the age of six
- Have been instructed to by the nurse from a previous appointment
Failure to remove all wax may require a repeat appointment. Fees apply.
Note: DO NOT put any drops in your ear if you have perforation (hole in the ear drum). Please visit your GP and request sofradex drops.
Can my child visit?
Yes! Children from two years of age are eligible to visit us for ear wax removal.
Please read this if your child is under 6 years of age:
Children under the age of six make extremely hard wax, therefore we require preparation prior to the appointment. Placing drops in the ears allows for an effortless, efficient, and comfortable ear wax removal procedure.
- The parent or caregiver needs to place 2-3 drops of olive oil or softening drops in the child’s ears, twice a day, 3 days prior to their appointment. Unfortunately, if the nurse can see no sign of this preparation, your child will not be able to have wax removal and you will be required to make another appointment at least three days after, unless stated otherwise.
- This preparation is vital as your child needs to stay still during the procedure. Most children will not sit still if their wax is rock hard, as the ear will be tender and uncomfortable – causing the child to become distressed.
If your child has grommets or a hole in the ear drum
Please DO NOT use olive oil
You will need to visit your child’s GP and request medicated ear drops (sofradex) to put in your child’s ears in cases of:
- Ventilation tubes (grommets)
- Perforation (hole in ear drum)
- Suspected Ear Infection
Middle and inner ear infection
What is an inner or middle ear infection?
Fluid build up in the inner or middle ear.
How can you help with inner or middle ear infections?
Our registered nurse, specialised in ears can remove ear wax from your outer ear – this may help to relieve pressure off the ear drum if you are in pain.
Can you remove fluid from the inner or middle ear?
No, a surgical procedure is required with an ENT specialist to help release fluid behind the ear drum.
Dizziness / Vertigo
Does this procedure cause vertigo?
It is very rare – it is estimated that one in every 750 patients will experience slight dizziness after the procedure. However, this is temporary and usually only lasts for about 30 seconds.
Perforation & Grommets
Is this procedure suitable for me if I have perforation or grommets?
Yes. Microsuction is considered the safest method of ear wax removal for those with a perforation or grommets. Syringing (injecting water into the ear canal) is not recommended for those with these conditions as the liquid causes infection in the middle/inner ear.
Is this procedure suitable for me if I have had ear surgery?
Yes. Microsuction is strongly recommended for individuals who have had ear surgery as it is considered gentle on the ears.
What is considered a foreign object?
Bugs, leaves, animal fur, hearing aid domes, cotton buds, cotton tips, food, stickers – any item that does not originate from your ear canal.
How are foreign objects removed?
The nurse may use a combination of the suction and fine tools (aural toileting).
Hearing aid wearers
Is microsuction suitable for hearing aid wearers?
Yes! Microsuction is the preferred method of ear wax removal for hearing aid wearers, as it is efficient and is considered a safe procedure. Having the ears clear of wax helps your hearing aids to work to the best of their ability.
How often should I have this done?
Most hearing aid wearers require microsuction once or twice yearly* for those with narrow ear canals, microsuction may be required quarterly.
*This is a general guide; some individuals may require microsuction more regularly depending on their ear wax production.
Can I wear my hearing aids straight after the procedure?
Yes! You should be able to hear much clearer afterwards.
Why should I have microsuction before a hearing test?
Having the ears clear of wax allows for an accurate reading of your hearing’s sound and pitch. Therefore, your audiologist can adjust your hearing aids to the perfect level and have a true depiction of your hearing.
General Practitioners and Audiologists
Do I need to make referral to send my clients?
No, a referral is not required
Can I refer children here?
Yes, children from the age of two can visit our clinic for removal of ear wax, foreign objects, and outer ear infection debris.
Does the patient need to use softening drops?
The use of drops prior to microsuction is not required unless multiple attempts of syringing have been made with no success, or a child is under six years of age.
I have tried syringing my patients ears multiple time with no success, can you remove it?
Microsuction is very thorough, therefore it removes all ear wax. Ear wax softening drops are not usually required prior to the procedure; however syringing may push the ear wax further down the canal and on to the eardrum, causing impacted wax. Therefore, to remove the wax safely and effectively, ear wax softening drops are required for 2-3 days prior to the procedure in this case.
My patient has otitis externa, how can you help?
The nurse assesses the ear canal with microscopic headset, it allows her to view particles and identify the type of infection (bacterial/fungal) if it is not able to identified, a swap can be taken to confirm. Once the debris has been removed, the nurse will make recommendations on how the infection can be managed or prevented.
Earphones and Earplugs
Why do I need regular ear microsuction if I wear earphones and ear plugs?
Ear plugs, earmuffs, phone headsets and other in ear devices make the ears produce more ear wax. Most people who use these devices require this procedure once or twice annually.
What is the fee for a consultation?
If no microsuction is required or performed, a consultation fee of $60 applies.
This is visible on the website as well as the comprehensive assessment and consent form that all patients sign prior to clinical assessment with the Registered Nurse, Tracy Reid.
When you book an appointment, this slot is blocked out for the full fifteen minutes. Depending on the severity of advice shared, some consultations take up the full appointment, whereas some don’t – however, the remainder of this slot is not replaceable with another patient.
Please note that this appointment time is allocated to:
- Analyse the comprehensive assessment form
- The consultation and advice provided regarding any symptoms causing blocked/itchy ears, dizziness, or sinus issues
- Sterilise the bed and equipment used to check your ears
- Typing your clinical notes (typed and signed by RN Tracy)
- Post appointment administration (eg. logging patient details and sending tax invoices)
We recommend that people see a bulk billing GP for assessment first if they’re unsure about needing microsuction. However, we do need to charge for Tracy’s time as she is a valuable health professional with over a decade of experience and specialisation in ear health.
Mask Wearing Policy
What is your mask wearing policy?
When masks are mandatory in Queensland, you need to wear a mask inside the clinic at all times. If you are mask exempt, please bring a GP letter as supporting documentation to show our reception staff – you will be asked to wait outside until it is your appointment.
People who do not have an official doctors letter and will not wear a mask over the mouth and nose – will not be treated.
Does the clinic have any COVID-19 policies I should be aware of?
If you have recently contracted COVID-19, please do not enter the clinic until at least 14 days has passed your positive test. Many of our patients are elderly and/or immune compromised, therefore this policy has been introduced to protect them, our staff and allow us to continue operating during this outbreak.
Please do not enter the clinic if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, or have recently been in close contact with someone experiencing these symptoms; sore throat, dry cough, fever, fatigue, loss of taste or smell or shortness of breath.
If you have an active cold or flu – please DO NOT visit the clinic. Out of respect for our patients and staff’s health and wellbeing, please cancel your appointment and re-schedule once your cold or flu symptoms are no longer present.