How to Use Ear Curette for Safe Ear Cleaning Procedures?


According to the Department of ENT, University of Ado-Ekiti Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria, 10% of children in the United States are affected by cerumen impaction. The cerumen impaction is the main cause of pain and itching in the ear.

This can also cause reversible cognitive impairment in an older person. ENT surgeons can provide the best treatment for cerumen impaction with an Ear Curette.

The curette has a unique design that helps in providing efficient ear-cleaning procedures. Keep reading if you want to learn how to use a curette for safe ear-cleaning procedures.

Structure and Types of Ear Curettes

There are multiple types of curettes, each with specific shapes and designs. The standard structure of the curette consists of a long, thick handle for a perfect grip. It also has a ring or loop shape tip that healthcare providers insert in the ear canal to encounter all the ear wax.

image of ear curette - ENT instrument

Ear Curette

Curettes are available in different styles that may be straight or curved. The tip of the instrument can be blunt or sharp. Here are the main types of curettes:

  • Buck Curettes
  • Lempert Curettes
  • Disposable Curettes
  • Shapleigh Curettes

These curettes are available in different sizes and patterns for the facility of surgeons. In addition, disposable curettes are made of propylene material for single use only.

Use of Curettes in Ear Cleaning Procedures

Curettes are uniquely designed surgical instruments for removing ear wax, reducing cerumen impaction, and deep cleaning the ear canal. ENT professionals commonly use them in ear-cleaning procedures.

There are three methods for ear wax removal, such as water pressure, suction, and curettes. The most preferred method for ear cleaning is the use of curettes. The professionals mechanically operate the curette inside the ear canal to remove the ear wax.

The angled blade curettes can easily scrape off the hard ear wax. The ring tip of the curette completely engages all the wax, and the operator gently scroops all the wax from the ear canal. It is necessary to carefully operate the curette in order to prevent friction against the tender canal walls. This friction can damage the ear walls and cause tissue loss during ENT procedures.

The curettes are available in multiple sizes so that the operator can select the best one according to their comfort. Also, it is necessary to use the best fit curette while considering the ear size for efficient cleaning of the ear.

How to Safely Use Curettes

Inspect the location of ear wax accumulation via otoscopy. Then, apply the curette to that area without touching the canal walls. Insert the ring portion of the curette on the inferior portion of the wax and ensure it has passed all the wax of the ear.

After this, gently scoop out all the wax while avoiding friction against the tender canal walls. This is the best way to use curettes without causing any injury to the ear structure.

German Stainless-Steel Curettes Vs. Plastic Curettes

Stainless steel curettes are rigid, have stiff tips, and are mostly preferred for deep ear cleaning. Otolaryngologists use both curettes for ear-cleaning procedures. The thing to know is that the stainless curettes are stiff and can cause harm if inappropriately used. Therefore, it is only preferred for professional use. They are long-lasting and sterilizable, which is why they are usable for longer durations.

On the other hand, plastic curettes have softer tips and do not cause harm to patients. However, the major drawback of plastic curettes is that they are not usable for longer durations.

Curettes for Professionals’ Use

According to the research of the Medical College of Georgia, Department of Emergency Medicine, Augusta, GA, USA, the operators are highly satisfied with the use of curettes, and patients feel less pain during ear procedures.

illustration of anatomy of external ear

Anatomy of External Ear

German stainless-steel curettes have a robust structure and are for professional use only. The healthcare provider uses the curettes for ear cleaning procedures after a thorough examination. They can provide smooth, deep ear-cleaning procedures with minimal discomfort. The procedure is satisfying for the patient and the operator as well.

The use of an Ear Curette helps in the reduction of cerumen impaction. The unique structure can easily scrape off the excessive cerumen without any damage to the ear canal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to use the curette for cleaning procedures?

Curettes do not cause any harm to the patient if they are appropriately used. However, the use of curettes at home may be risky, as their inappropriate application can damage the tympanic membrane or ear canal.

What is more beneficial from stainless curettes vs. plastic curettes?

The plastic and stainless steel curettes are beneficial for ear-cleaning procedures. However, stainless steel curettes are easy to clean and usable for longer periods, while plastic curettes have less longevity than stainless steel curettes.

Can stainless steel curettes harm the ear canal?

Stainless steel curettes may cause harm to the patient’s ear if inappropriately used. In addition, they are rigid and should be handled with a proper technique for safe ear cleaning.

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Devin Morgan
A business communications coach who teaches writing, speaking, and leadership skills to adults in the midst of a career change.

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