Ear wash| technique, indications, contra-indications and complications

Ear wash is a measure that is used to remove ear wax buildup if it accumulates to the extent that it causes loss of hearing and pain in the affected ear.

Technique of ear wash

It is done by ear syringe using sterile water at body temperature.
The nozzle of the syringe is directed to the posterosuperior meatal wall after straightening the external auditory canal.


  • Wax causing deafness or difficulty in examining the drum.
  • Foreign body if not impacted.
  • Fungal mass.
  • Caloric test.

Contra-indications of ear wash

  • Traumatic or dry perforation.
  • Big vegetable or impacted foreign body.
  • Diffuse otitis externa.
  • Fistula between the middle and inner ears.

What are the possible complications of ear wash?

1. Trauma:

A. Ruptured drum: the patient feels sudden severe pain with dizziness and deafness, and he may feel fluid in the nasopharynx.
Management: Stop ear wash, dry the ear and give antibiotics.

B. Injury to external auditory canal by syringe nozzle or very hot fluid.
Management: Dry the ear and apply antibiotic cream.

2. Infection:

3. Reflex cough due to vagal stimulation.
4. Dizziness and vomiting if cold or hot water is used.
Ear wash| technique, indications, contra-indications and complications
Dr.Tamer Mobarak


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