BLOCKED EARS - SELF HELP - Please click on link below for extremely helpful information and guidance. A visit to the Surgery is not always necessary.
Blocked Ears- self care Guidelines
According to NICE guidance ear irrigation is not suitable for:
- A history of any previous problem with irrigation (pain, perforation, severe vertigo).
- Current perforation of the tympanic membrane.
- A history of perforation of the tympanic membrane in the last 12 months. Not all experts would agree with this — some would advise that any history of a perforation at any time, even one that has been surgically repaired, is a contraindication to irrigation because a healed perforation may have a thin area which would be more prone to re-perforation.
- Grommets in place.
- A history of any ear surgery (except extruded grommets within the last 18 months, with subsequent discharge from an Ear Nose and Throat department).
- A mucus discharge from the ear (which may indicate an undiagnosed perforation) within the past 12 months.
- A history of a middle ear infection in the previous 6 weeks.
- Cleft palate, whether repaired or not.
- Acute otitis externa with an oedematous ear canal and painful pinna.
- Presence of a foreign body, including vegetable matter, in the ear. Hygroscopic matter, such as peas or lentils, will expand on contact with water making removal more difficult.
- Hearing in only one ear if it is the ear to be treated, as there is a remote chance that irrigation could cause permanent deafness.
- Confusion or agitation, as they may be unable to sit still.
- Inability to cooperate, for example young children and some people with learning difficulties.
- Vertigo, as this may indicate the presence of middle ear disease with perforation of the tympanic membrane.
- Recurrent otitis media with or without documented tympanic membrane perforation, as thin scars on the tympanic membrane can easily be perforated.
- An immunocompromised state, especially older people with diabetes, as there is an increased risk of infection from iatrogenic trauma to the external auditory canal in this group of people.
- Careful instrumentation should be employed in people who are taking anticoagulants due to increased bleeding risk.
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