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The Difference Between Micro-Suction Earwax Removal and Ear Irrigation Earwax Removal

The Difference Between Micro-Suction Earwax Removal and Ear Irrigation Earwax Removal

Date: 23rd February 2023 | By: Les Cavilla

Earwax, or cerumen, is a natural substance produced by the ears to protect and lubricate the ear canal. While it’s important for maintaining healthy ears, excess earwax can sometimes build up and cause problems, such as hearing loss or discomfort. When this happens, earwax removal may be necessary. There are two main methods for removing ear wax: micro-suction and ear irrigation.

In this article, we will explore the differences between these two methods and help you determine which one may be right for you.

Key Takeaway

Two popular methods for earwax removal are micro-suction and ear irrigation. Micro-suctioning is a gentle yet effective way of removing built-up wax from the ear canal using a suction device and a special microscope. On the other hand, ear irrigation involves flushing out hardened wax from deep within the ears using warm water. 

When deciding which method to use, consider factors like the amount and consistency of earwax, medical conditions, and personal preference. A professional audiologist would be best suited for determining the most appropriate ear wax removal method. 

Signs You Need Ear Wax Removal

Here are some signs that could indicate you need earwax removal:

  •   Hearing seems muffled or sound seems distant. Earwax build-up can make it difficult for sound to reach the eardrum
  •   Pain or discomfort in the ear, which can be caused by pressure build-up from excess earwax
  •   Tinnitus, or ringing in the ear
  •   When you can see or feel the earwax build up. This can range from a yellowish, waxy substance visible in the outer ear to a full blockage

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, it may be time for a hearing appointment and earwax removal. In certain instances, your audiologist may suggest regular ear cleaning either once or twice a year. 

Why Is Earwax Removal Important?

By removing excess earwax, you can maintain good hearing health, prevent discomfort and improve the overall health of your ears.

If left untreated for too long, excess wax can harden and cause a blockage that impairs hearing quality. The blockage may also be painful if bacteria is present and may cause an infection. If you need earwax removal, search for ‘hearing clinics near me’ or ‘ear wax removal near me’ to know which clinics in your area offer expert hearing care.

What Is Micro-Suction?

Micro-suction earwax removal is a safe, effective, and painless procedure for removing excess earwax. This method involves suctioning the wax out of the canal using specially designed instruments under direct vision with an operating microscope or magnifying loupes. A small, low-pressure suction device is used to perform the procedure.


Quick and effective

When it comes to removing earwax, time is of the essence. Micro-suction is a quick procedure that gives you clean ears in a relatively short time, with a single session often being enough to get the job done. Of course, the exact length of the procedure will depend on several factors, such as the amount of earwax present. But typically, micro-suction takes between 15 minutes and 30 minutes.

Less messy

Unlike ear irrigation, which involves flushing water into the ear canal, micro-suction is a less messy process. With micro-suction, there’s no risk of water or other substances getting into the ear canal. It also helps prevent any potential irritation or infection caused by trapped water or other substances.


Can be noisy

During micro-suction, earwax is quickly sucked out by a vacuum suction device, causing a loud noise. The noise level varies depending on the type and size of the device used, but in general, it tends to be louder than traditional methods of cleaning. This can make it less preferable for those sensitive to sound.

May cause dizziness

The dizziness associated with micro-suction earwax removal is caused by the micro-suction cooling the ear canal temperature during the procedure. This can cause vertigo and balance issues. Not everyone experiences dizziness during micro-suction earwax removal, and this side effect typically subsides quickly.

What Is Ear Irrigation?

Ear irrigation is a procedure used to remove excessive or impacted earwax. It involves flushing the ear canal with a stream of warm water, typically done under the supervision of an audiologist or other healthcare professional. You might be instructed to soften any impacted ear wax with an over-the-counter solution prior to your ear irrigation appointment.

The process begins by gently inserting a small nozzle into your ear canal, delivering a steady stream of lukewarm water. This helps soften and loosen any impacted wax that may be stuck in your ears. The water will then flush out the debris. This method is considered safe and effective for removing earwax as long as it’s performed by a professional.


Effective and painless

Ear irrigation is considered an effective and non-invasive option for removing earwax. The water pressure is carefully controlled to ensure it’s gentle enough to avoid damaging the ear canal but strong enough to effectively remove the earwax.

Flow of water can be adjusted

Adjusting the flow of water helps reduce any discomfort associated with the procedure.


Can be messy

Since ear irrigation involves using water to flush out earwax, this can result in water dripping or spraying from the ear, potentially making a mess. 

Can be more time-consuming

Ear irrigation can take up to 30 minutes per session, making it more time-consuming than other methods of earwax removal. The time it takes to complete the procedure also depends on various factors, such as the amount of earwax present. Additionally, ear irrigation may require multiple treatments to effectively remove all earwax, which can further add to the overall time needed for the procedure.

How to Choose Between Micro-Suction and Ear Irrigation

As seen above, both micro-suction and ear irrigation have their benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your needs, comfort level, preferences, and availability of these services in your area.

No matter which method you choose, it’s essential to have your earwax removed by a qualified professional. This will help ensure that the procedure is performed safely and effectively and that any potential complications are minimised.

Get Professional Earwax Removal Assistance in Swindon Today

Don’t let the discomfort or hearing issues caused by earwax build-up go untreated.

At Swindon Hearing Specialists, our team of experts is equipped with the latest technology and training to provide comprehensive hearing care services, including earwax removal. Whether you choose micro-suction or ear irrigation, we'll work with you to ensure that your hearing is healthy and functioning.

Take the first step towards better hearing. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.