Water as a fast acting wax softening agent before ear syringing.

Water as a fast acting wax softening agent before ear syringing.
Pavlidis C, Pickering JA.
Source
Dimboola Medical Centre, Victoria. drpavlidis@bigpond.com
Abstract
BACKGROUND:
Dispute exists over the best treatment for softening occlusive earwax. Some require the patient to go away for days before returning for syringing. Some syringe immediately with no preparation.

METHODS:
An open, nonblinded, randomised controlled trial was conducted in one rural general practice. Effects of instillation of water into the ear canal for 15 minutes before syringing were compared to effects of syringing immediately.

RESULTS:
Thirty-nine ears (of 26 patients) were randomised. Ear wax was removed entirely by syringing in all ears. Prior instillation of water required a mean 7.5 (+/- 7.3) attempts at syringing versus a mean 25.4 (+/- 39.4) attempts for ears that were syringed immediately (p=0.043).

DISCUSSION:
Prior installation of water before syringing seems to be an effective and simple method of reducing the number of attempts required to clear the ear of occlusive wax.