Highgate Hill Doctors is specifically set up to treat difficult earwax and external ear infections, such as Swimmers Ear and Otitis externa. These are optimally and safely treated under direct visualization with a Zeiss Ear Microscope combined with low-pressure suction.
Dr Ian Mannion and Dr David Carroll each have over 20 years’ experience in dealing with difficult ear problems and lead and train the team here. The Zeiss ear microscope allows our doctors to have clear vision of the eardrum and canal so that the ear can be safely and thoroughly treated. They lead the team and ensure all the doctors here are safe in the use of this sophisticated equipment. Dr Ellen Rozis has had previous hospital experience in ENT and is highly proficient in ear cleaning and is a great addition to our ear cleaning team.
Wax build up can impair ear function and hearing if impacted or excessive. For wax removal, use Waxsol or EarClear a few nights prior to your appointment to help loosen wax. Do not use Waxsol or EarClear if there is any pain present, if you suspect a hole in your drum or if you have had surgery for your ear. Please call the clinic regarding this if you are unsure.
No referral is required, though we do welcome other GPs or audiologists to refer their patients to our clinic. Patients referred by a GP will be sent back to the original practice with a management plan once the ear is settled.
Ear Wax – Natures Ear Cleaner
Remember ear wax is an important part of the natural ear cleaning process. Wax catches dirt and over a few weeks grows out and keeps the canal clear. The ear is an amazing organ. Hearing is about social and physical survival and the body makes sure that ears keep working. Wax is part of that natural process.
If we were to put a drop of ink on the centre of your drum itself we could watch it grew sideways with the drum skin onto the side of the canal . About 6 weeks latter you could see the drop of ink appearing on the outside of the ear. Wax catches the dirt and brings it out with it.
This process should not need any help from doctors.
However occasionally the wax gets impacted and does not self clean.
Your external canals may be narrow and difficult. These canals can be more difficult to syringe.
Or your wax is originally naturally, or just becomes thick or dry in consistency.
What can be done
- You can put wax softeners in yourself and occasionally rinse it out in the shower.
- Your own GP can syringe it out.
- For more difficult cases or if there is ear infection syringing may not be appropriate and our ear microscopic process is a safer alternative.
It is not just having the specialized ear microscope and equipment but choosing a practice that has the long experience and quality control necessary.
Full visualisation of the area with a quality operating Ziess ear microscope is obtained then the impacted wax or infected debris is gently suctioned away, and the ear drum is inspected to make sure there is no problems there.
External Ear infections, Swimmers Ear or Otitis Externa.
What is this?
This is an infection in the external ear canal. It is a superficial infection of the skin of the ear canal from the ear drum outwards that is the bit in red in the picture above.
In our hot moist Queensland environment with frequent swimming external ear infections are common.
Frequently the germs and fungi that cause these infections are there anyway and not causing any problems usually. When the skin gets wet and softens, up particularly if it’s hot, they can break through the skins natural protective layer and start an infection- and it hurts.
How do I know I have this?
How can I tell I have a swimmer’s ear and not a middle ear infection?
- You tug on the outside part of the ear and it hurts to wiggle it
- You usually do not have a cold or a fever
- You may have been swimming or sweating a lot
- You may have had a swimmers ear infection before as it is likely to come back
- There may be a discharge leaking out. Though this could be part of a middle ear infection. In any case an ear microscope may be the ideal way to assess this situation and treat.
How Do I Treat it?
Your own GP may have already started some anti bacterial or antifungal drops and that along with keeping the ear dry may be enough.
Removing the debris with direct visualization under an ear microscope is how many ENT specialists or experienced ear suction GPs would treat. This gets the infected debris out and allows the drops or cream to work straight up against the infected skin where the infection is.
How do I prevent it?
If you have had a recent infection it is very important to keep the canal dry for some time. Stay out of the water for a least a week after treatment has started.
Start using Aquaear drying drops if it does get wet as soon as the worst of the inflammation has settled. This is Usually 2-3 days after the pain has settled.
Keep using the drying drops for some time after the infection that is whenever the ear gets wet.
Consider getting fitted swimmers ear plugs from your audiologist.