Cerumen impaction is a common problem, and aural microsuction is a technique frequently employed for its management. This study aimed to quantify the patient perception, safety and efficacy of this procedure.
Patients were asked to complete a questionnaire following cerumen clearance by microsuction. The perceived severity of pain, noise-related discomfort and vertigo was scored on a scale of 1 to 10. Patients with mastoid cavities and those who had used a cerumenolytic agent in the preceding week were analysed separately.
A total of 159 questionnaires were returned. Mean scores (95 per cent confidence intervals) were: pain, 2.34 (2.06–2.62); noise discomfort, 3.03 (2.71–3.35); and vertigo, 1.95 (1.66–2.25). There was successful clearance (i.e. sufficient to view the tympanic membrane) in 91 per cent of cases. Patients who had used cerumenolytics reported significantly less pain and vertigo (p = 0.008 and p < 0.001, respectively) compared with those who had not, whilst patients with mastoid cavities reported greater levels of vertigo (p < 0.001) than those without.
Aural microsuction is well tolerated. Side effects are mild, and the prior use of cerumenolytics appears to further reduce their severity.
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