What has gone wrong?
The ear canal is narrow and curved and can be easily blocked with wax, dead skin or sometimes by infection. With infection, the skin that lines the ear canal often becomes swollen and sore. A bad blockage will make the hearing go dull.
We aim to clean away all the material blocking the ear canal. This can be painful if there is infection in the ear. Therefore, it is best carried out under a general anaesthetic. We can normally do your operation as a day case. This means that you come into hospital on the day of your operation and go home the same day.
Cleaning out the ear canal will make it easier to treat any infection. It will allow us to examine your eardrum in detail. Deafness due to the blockage will be improved.
Are there any alternatives?
Repeated courses of antibiotics are unlikely to clear an infection in the ear canal when it is full of debris.
What if you do nothing?
The ear will remain blocked and any infection will continue. Your doctor can prescribe more antibiotics for you but they are unlikely to work.
Who should have it done?
People who have ear canals blocked with debris, infection or wax should have a suction clearance.
Who should not have it done?
People who have other medical conditions that would make a general anaesthetic unsafe should not have one.
Author: Mr Robert Ruckley MB. ChB. F.R.C.S. Consultant ENT surgeon.
© Dumas Ltd 2006