I have been using the EarWay Pro ear wax removal tool for some time now and over that period I have settled on a set process for its use. I wanted to share it, just in
An Effective Tool
I have found the tool to be very effective on certain types of earwax plugs. It always reduces the time spent removing earwax, whether that be through complete removal or partial removal of the plug. In general, I use it on wax plugs that have an obviously solid consistency.
They don’t have to be rock hard, although it will work on that, they just have to be kind of dense. As you become more familiar with the tool and more experienced removing wax with it, you will begin to recognise the right wax for the job quickly.
The process I use is as follows:
- Standard otoscopy, to judge the wax plug and the size of the ear canal
- I use
Earolto spray into the canal, trying to ensure it makes most contact between the plug and the ear canal wall. I feel that it helps in two ways, firstly, it begins to break down the seal between the plug and the canal and it also facilitates the easy introduction of the tool.
- Choose the size of EarWay Pro tool, always start with one size bigger than you think, more often than not it works well
- Use a demo tool to go through the instruction
- Show the Patient the demo tool, explaining how it works and how you will introduce it to their ear. I usually say something like, okay, I am going to use this tool to try to remove the ear wax plug in one go. Showing them the tool I say, You can see the neck of the tool is flexible so it coils around the wax and bends around your ear canal, these two marks here on the shaft are depth markers, so I can’t go too deep, with the tool, keeping the process safe. I then place the tool to my ear explaining as I slowly introduce it to the ear canal that I am going to slowly introduce it to their ear canal by slowly rotating it, in essence screwing it in until it is deep enough and then pull it out. I explain that at all times I will have full visibility of what I am doing using a lighted head loupe. I use this for the headlight as much as visibility. I tell them that this is going to feel a little strange, because they have no experience of it and there may be some discomfort, I tell them that if there is any more than discomfort, to raise their hand and I will stop the procedure. Explaining beforehand that there may be discomfort reduces the impact of any discomfort. I then affirm the Patient understands and has no questions.
- Take the tool that you are going to use from the packaging, allowing the Patient to see it being done so they understand it is sterile.
- To begin the procedure, I lift the ear up and back to straighten the canal, just as I would with otoscopy. I then brace my hand, again as I would with otoscopy. I always use my dominant hand, just adjusting my bracing.
- I continue to talk to the Patient throughout the procedure, saying the following, okay, I am beginning to introduce the tool to your ear canal and you will feel the tool rotating through your canal. Okay, so it is going in nicely for us. When I begin to feel the plug engage I say that I can feel the tool capturing the wax plug and explain how close I am to the depth marker. When I have finished inserting the tool, I tell them I am going to slowly pull the tool out of their ear canal.
- I then show them the absolute wonders of our labour hahahahah. Thre is truly nothing more satisfying than pulling that tool out with a big wax plug attached.
What if they raise their hand?
I haven’t had too many people find the process to be more than uncomfortable. However, if it happens, I stop the procedure immediately, and ask them was there some pain? Most mention a stab of pain, I then tell them I am going to take the tool out gently.
I pull out the tool, showing them it, usually there will be some wax captured in the tool. I explain to them that the tool may have rubbed hard against the nerve in the canal or the canal wall, but it hasn’t been a complete waste of our time. I then inspect the ear canal to assess if there has been an abrasion, in my experience so far, there never has been.
I assure them that there are no marks or abrasions on their ear canal wall and then finish the wax removal with more traditional tools, either
Safe and quick
In my experience so far with the devices, I have found them to be safe and quick. Even when the procedure is stopped before full insertion, it normally captures some of the plug. It removes that as you pull it out and often dislodges the rest of the plug, ensuring that it is a little easier for you to remove.
Because of this, I don’t see a failed procedure, as a failed procedure, one way or the other, it has helped the overall process. My tips are simple, always use a spray of olive oil, always straighten the ear canal as much as possible, and finally, keep communicating with the Patient, tell them what you are going to do, what you are doing, and what you have done.