In Conversation With… An interview with Yvonne Gee, Microsuction Ear Wax Removal Specialist
As part of our series of blogs, meeting the people who work at Bedford Consulting Rooms; BCR’s Helen caught up with, Yvonne Gee, to find out more about her journey into becoming a microsuction ear wax removal specialist, what she does in her everyday practise, and what inspires her in her work.
Fact File – Yvonne Gee:
• Registered nurse with over 20 years’ nursing experience
• Completed her microsuction ear wax removal training course at Charing Cross Hospital
• Her training is accredited for continuing professional development by the British Society of Audiology and ENT UK
• Her clinic, Clear Ears Clinic is regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC)
Helen: What was your past work experience before coming to work in Ear Microsuction?
Yvonne: Before setting up my private practice in ear microsuction, I had a long and diverse career in nursing. I trained as a nurse in Germany, where I am originally from, and then moved to London 18 years ago. I have always been passionate about helping people , and in London I worked in intensive care for many years. When I relocated to Bedford , I continued nursing at Bedford hospital.
Helen: What brought you to training in Ear Microsuction?
Yvonne: I decided to train in ear microsuction because my husband suffered from ear wax and we really struggled to get treatment. After a lot of research, it was clear there was a lack of treatment available for people who suffer from ear wax problems because the NHS no longer provides this treatment. I thought there was an opportunity to help people like my husband and also have more flexibility in my working hours.
Helen: What does ear microsuction involve?
Yvonne: Ear microsuction is a technique that uses a specialised medical device to gently remove problematic ear wax from the ear canal. The device has a thin tube that is attached to a suction machine. The tube is carefully inserted into the ear and the suction machine creates a vacuum that sucks out the wax. High powered surgical magnifying glasses allow me to clearly see the ear canal and eardrum, and therefore remove the wax safely.
Ear microsuction takes a few minutes to complete. It should not cause discomfort, although it’s worth saying it makes a little bit of bit of a noise and you might feel the wax wobble its way out. Sometimes, it might even tickle!
Helen: What are the benefits of ear microsuction?
Yvonne: Ear microsuction is less invasive, and more comfortable than the older method of irrigation, which involved flushing water into the ear canal. Microsuction is now the preferred method as it’s safer and better tolerated by patients. It is also quick and practical to perform and has fewer risks of complications. Ear microsuction has many benefits for people who suffer from ear wax problems, and quickly resolves the problem. I want the services to be as accessible as possible and can offer private appointments quickly.
Also, whilst irrigation is not suitable if there an infection in the ear, microsuction can still be used, and may help in terms of clearing some of the material out of the way so that topical treatments your doctor has prescribed such as drops, can get further into the ear canal and get to work, and may help with relieve some of the discomfort.
Helen: How quickly can patients notice a difference?
Yvonne: People generally feel improvement right away with improved hearing and relief of discomfort caused by the wax. Where the wax has been very impacted, there may be ongoing improvement for a few days whilst everything settles from the release of pressure and patients may feel it clicking lightly and painlessly whilst the inner ear adjusts.
Helen: What is rewarding about your practise?
Yvonne: It’s satisfying to help others knowing that without the service I provide other options are very limited for patients. I enjoy seeing the immediate change and improvement that ear microsuction can bring to the patients. It is very satisfying to help address their ear wax issues and improve their hearing and quality of life.
Helen: Is ear microsuction suitable for all people?
Yvonne: Yes, anyone can use it and there are very few contraindications. Some people naturally produce more ear wax than others, and whilst ear wax is a natural a good thing to assist lubrication and cleaning in the ear, when it is excessive or won’t naturally leave the ear canal, is can cause issues where the ear feels blocked and it affects hearing, possibly causing discomfort. Ear microsuction is ideal for people experiencing these symptoms.
I see both adults, and children from the age of 4 and older, and it is very well tolerated by all age groups. Parents can call me for a chat if they have any questions regarding booking their child for treatment. Many people who wear hearing aids benefit from regular ear microsuction, as sometimes, the presence of the hearing aid can affect the natural wax production, or push wax into the ear. I often see patients who are preparing for a hearing test or an audiology appointment, because they need their ears to be as clean as possible so that their results are accurate. It’s also an important service to explain to people when it is not earwax that’s causing the issue, signposting them to the correct service, so if they are ringing to ask me, I can go over this with them as to the appropriateness of treatment.
Helen: Is there any pre- or post- treatment advice for patients coming for an appointment?
Yvonne: I advise patients to use olive oil in their ear(s) for 2-3 nights before coming for the treatment. This helps to naturally soften the wax in preparation. You can buy a dropper from your local pharmacy, or a handy tip is that a clean syringe-type dropper that you get with children’s liquid medicines can be really useful to get the olive oil in the ear conveniently and cleanly! Otherwise, you can also get olive oil in a spray from the pharmacy for this purpose.
In terms of aftercare, it’s important to keep the ears dry, and to avoid getting water and shampoo in them. Overall, the old advice is still some of the best – not to put anything into your own ear canal that’s smaller than your elbow, because cotton buds can cause problem wax to become impacted and make it worse, and if you are having issues it is better to come and see me.
Helen: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me today!
Yvonne works Monday to Friday at Bedford Consulting Rooms, to book an appointment or consultation with her, contact her via her page.
Fact File – Ear Microsuction
• Ear microsuction is a quick and safe technique to remove earwax using a specialised vacuum device; it should not cause discomfort
• Microsuction is less invasive than irrigation, and it suitable where irrigation is not possible (e.g. where there is an infection)
• Ear microsuction can improve hearing and quality of life by relieving the symptoms of earwax build-up
• Ear microsuction is suitable for most people, including adults, children over 4 years old, people who wear hearing aids, and people who have ear infections
• Benefit may be felt immediately after treatment and may also continue to improve over a few days