Ear Syringing

The leading cause of litigation against GP's is for the procedure of ear syringing. Ear syringing can cause tympanic membrane perforation, this is difficult to treat and can cause permanent loss of hearing. Wax softeners such as olive oil, or for wax resistant to this treatment, micro-suction, are safer alternatives for the removal of ear wax.

Ear syringing is not considered an essential service. We are looking to empower our patients regarding self-care for ear wax using ear bulb syringes. This method has been piloted very successfully across Northumberland with a high patient satisfaction, reducing the need for patients to request appointments with the District Nurses and Doctors. We are therefore looking to encourage our patients to follow this guidance.

Patients who have hearing impairment where the cause is unknown will still need to see a clinician, but we hope by expanding this intervention it will free up valuable time for the District Nurses and Doctors.

This leaflet gives patients guidance on self-care

Ear bulb syringing

It is hoped that Ear bulb syringing will become the norm for ear wax issues. Some patients will still require traditional ear syringing. Patients who should not attempt ear bulb syringing include those with the following symptoms or history

  • Pain in the ear
  • A history of eardrum perforation in the affected ear
  • A recent history of an ear infection in the affected ear
  • Symptoms of infection in the ear
  • If you only have one hearing ear which is the affected ear
  • Previous ear surgery on the affected ear

Local Pharmacies stock ear bulb syringes, they are cheap and reusable by patients.

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