Are you offering ear cleaning services in your hearing healthcare office? If not, you may want to consider it. It will not only become a valuable service, it will also make you stand out from your competition.
I started ear cleaning services about 5 years ago because my patients were asking for it! They didn’t like having to wait weeks to get into their primary doctor or ENT office. As a provider I disliked having to reschedule patients that were occluded with cerumen that prohibited me from performing hearing evaluations and other services. Medicare does not allow audiologists to bill for ear cleaning, but you may be surprised how many of your patients are willing to pay out of pocket for the convenience of having it done immediately in your office. Consider the following 4 tips that will keep you out of a sticky situation when cleaning ears!
- Know your limits: Cerumen that is soft and not impacted is the easiest to remove. If several attempts are made to remove the wax and it is uncomfortable for the patient, refer out or have the patient use an over-the-counter ear wax removal at home to soften the wax before attempting removal again.
- Know your patient’s ear history: It is important to know whether or not the patient has a history of a tympanic membrane perforation, any ear surgery or on any anticoagulants that may cause excessive bleeding in the ear canal.
- Know the best method of removal: Depending on whether or not the wax is impacted will determine the best way to remove. An irrigator or suction will work the best when impacted, and a curette if not impacted. It will also be dependent on #2 (ear history).
- Train yourself and practice: The best way to become comfortable with removing wax is to complete an ear cleaning training session. If purchasing an irrigator or suction machine the manufacturers will provide the training. Then practice on your staff or family and friends.
With these tips in mind, adding ear cleaning to your list of services is easy, convenient, and helps you provide an even better patient experience!