Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can a patient have irrigation prior to flying?

Yes, flying is not a contraindication to ear irrigation. Once the wax has been removed, you should advise the patient to keep their ears dry for 2-3 days to allow the ear canal to produce more wax, which is its natural protection.

Can I irrigate a patient’s ear if I can see half the tympanic membrane?

Yes, this is not a contraindication to irrigation. Even if the meatus is full of wax, at some point during the irrigation procedure half the tympanic membrane will be visible, but you can continue to irrigate in order to remove all the wax. Please ensure that the procedure is performed correctly following the guidelines as stated in the Ear Care Guidance Document.

Can I irrigate an ear if it’s the patient’s only good hearing ear?

This is not a contraindication to irrigation. If a patient has one good hearing ear, and it is full of wax, their hearing will be compromised. Please see the Ear Care Guidance Document for the correct procedure and contraindications.

Can a patient use olive oil if they have a mastoid cavity or a perforation?

Yes.In most cases olive oil can be used in ears if the patient had a mastoid cavity or a perforation. If wax is occluding the meatus, it should be removed. Olive oil is not as astringent as some other wax removal preparations and can be used for 2-3 days prior to the patient seeing their clinician.

How often do I need to update my skills?

We would advise every two years for an invasive procedure such as irrigation. This can be a formal training course or our Bi-Annual Ear Care Conference.  It can also be during clinical supervision when a suitably-qualified clinician observes your practice and technique and feeds back to you. This should be recorded.