Expert Warns Ear Cleaning Technique Could Cause Hearing Loss

Practices should offer to evacuate earwax in adult patients if it contributes to hearing loss or different symptoms, as indicated by a draft guidance released by National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). The guidance says GP surgeries or community clinics should look into giving this service since it would reduce the need to refer patients to a specialist ear, nose, and throat (ENT) service.

It also prompted against physically pumping water into the ear through a syringe, warning that the ’design of the syringe and the inability to control the water pressure increases the risk of damage to the ear canal and tympanic membrane’.

Rather, it recommends utilizing an electric irrigator after the pre-treatment wax softeners, which it claims is less harmful. Other methods, for example, microsuction and manual expulsion are acceptable.

It Additionally Prescribes Gps:

  • Refer adults with sudden or quick onset of hearing loss that isn’t explained by external or middle ear causes.
  • Refer immediately adults with acquired unilateral hearing loss and altered sensation or facial droop on the same side to an ear, nose and throat service or, if a stroke is suspected, take after a nearby stroke referral pathway.
  • Refer promptly adults with hearing misfortune who are immunocompromised and have otalgia (earache) with otorrhoea (discharge from the ear) that has not reacted to treatment inside 72 hours to an ear, nose and throat service.
  • Consider a speculated cancer pathway referral to an ear, nose and throat service for adults of the Southeast Asian family source with hearing loss and a unilateral middle ear effusion not related with an upper respiratory tract infection.
  • Consider referring individuals aged more than 40 with unilateral hearing loss and otalgia that has lasted on for over weeks to an ear, nose and throat service.

‘For individuals with hearing loss through better management of earwax to improve care and referring individuals with symptoms, our draft recommendations can assist to the right service at the right time’, said by NICE director Professor Mark Baker.

‘We support those working in primary and specialist services, patients and stakeholders to comment on the proposed advice.’

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