Micro Suction / Manual Clearance of the Ears

Patient Experience

  • Reference Number: HEY-588/2023
  • Departments: ENT
  • Last Updated: 1 April 2023


This leaflet has been produced to give you general information about your procedure.  Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet.  It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and your doctor, but may act as a starting point for discussion.   If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team.

What is micro suction and manual clearance of the ears?

You have probably been troubled by wax / infection / debris in your ears. Following discussion with your doctor he has advised micro suction or manual clearance of the wax / infection / debris.

Micro suction is the removal of wax / infection / debris using a small suction tube and a fine suction end.  This can be a bit noisy and whilst having the procedure you will need to keep as still as possible unless asked to move slightly.  This is important as the doctor or nurse doing the procedure could accidentally injure the ear canal or your eardrum if you move without warning.

Manual clearance is removal of wax / infection / debris using a probe / wax hook / forceps.   Again it is important to keep as still as possible whilst the procedure is being done to prevent accidental injury to the ear canal or ear drum. 

Why do I need micro suction or manual clearance of the ears?

Micro suction or manual clearance is used to remove wax / infection / debris from the ears as sometimes the ears stop cleaning themselves or are unable to do so.  The wax / infection / debris will need to be removed to allow any treatment required to be more effective.

Can there be any complications or risks?

As previously mentioned it is important to keep as still as possible during this procedure to avoid accidental injury to the ears.  Some patients may experience dizziness for a short period during and after the procedure which should pass quickly soon after.

If you are having treatment for an ear infection then the procedure may sometimes be uncomfortable, the doctor or nurse will check if you are coping with the procedure on a regular basis.

How do I prepare for the procedure?

Please read the information leaflet.  Share the information it contains with your partner and family (if you wish) so that they can be of help and support.  There may be information they need to know, especially if they are taking care of you following this examination.

You may be asked by the doctor or the nurse to insert olive oil / drops into your ears prior to your appointment for 1 -2 weeks.

What happens afterwards?

If a follow up appointment is required one should be made before you leave the department. 

Should you require further advice on the issues contained in this leaflet, please do not hesitate to contact the ENT Department (01482) 468380.


This leaflet was produced by the ENT Department, Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and will be reviewed in April 2026. 

Ref: HEY588/2023

General Advice and Consent

Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.

Consent to treatment

Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats you, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to you. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.

The information you receive should be about your condition, the alternatives available to you, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:

  • you must be able to give your consent
  • you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
  • you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person

Information about you

We collect and use your information to provide you with care and treatment. As part of your care, information about you will be shared between members of a healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet. Your information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service, and to help with research. Wherever possible we use anonymous data.

We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide you with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your doctor, or the person caring for you.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you or your carer needs information about your health and wellbeing and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.

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