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Otol Neurotol. 2014 Jun;35(5):e195-8. doi: 10.1097/MAO.0000000000000364.

In vitro efficacy of a consumer-marketed ear cleaning tool.

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Department of Otolaryngology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, U.S.A.



The WaxVac ear cleaning device may be a useful adjunct for patients requiring aural toilet.


Cerumen removal and routine aural toilet is a common complaint that presents to the otolaryngology clinic. We tested this device to make an appropriate recommendation to our patients.


We conducted in vitro testing of the WaxVac device on an artificial ear canal model and cadaveric temporal bones testing the strength of the suction, noise created by the device, and the ability of the device to remove foreign bodies from the external auditory canal. These foreign bodies included a PE tube, baby powder, a q-tip head, saline, and artificial cerumen.


The WaxVac created very little suction as compared with Frazier tip suctions used in clinic. The device produced very little noise in the canal, which was equivalent to a #3 Frazier tip suction. The WaxVac was unable to remove q-tip heads or artificial cerumen from the ear canal model or the cadaveric temporal bones. Very little of the saline could be removed by the WaxVac, and only 20% to 50% of trials demonstrated removal of a PE tube. However, a large amount of the powder was able to be removed by the device.


Although the concept of this device is good, the actual product does not produce adequate suction to remove cerumen or most common foreign bodies from the external auditory canal. It is unlikely to be useful for aural toilet.

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