Ear wax Referral Access Criteria

 Referrers should use this page when referring patients to public adult ENT outpatient services for resistant ear wax. 
Emergency referral
If any of the following are present or suspected, refer the patient to the emergency department or seek emergency medical advice if in a remote region.
  • Foreign body
Immediate referral
Orange exclamation mark in triangle: orange alertImmediately contact on-call registrar or service to arrange immediate ENT assessment (seen within 7 days):
  • Nil
To contact the relevant service, see HealthPathways: Acute ENT assessment (external site)
Presenting issues
If any of these issues are present, refer to outpatient services through the Central Referral Service (CRS).

  • Patients with resistant ear wax after recommended treatment, and at least one of the following:
    • significant hearing loss
    • pain
    • discharge
    • dizziness/vertigo
    • facial weakness
Mandatory information
Referrals missing 'mandatory information' with no explanation provided may not be accepted by site. If 'mandatory information' is not included, the explanation must be provided in the body of the referral (e.g. patient unable to access test due to financial reasons or geographical location).

This information is required to inform accurate and timely triage. If unable to attach reports, please include relevant information/findings in the body of the referral and advise where (provider) investigation/imaging was completed.

  • Relevant medical history
  • Details of previous treatment and outcome
  • Degree of functional impairment e.g. quality of life
  • Otoscopic findings
  • Results of hearing tests (where available and providing it will not cause significant delay)
  • Result of syringing or micro suction OR reason why contraindicated
Highly desirable
  • Nil
  • Nil
  • Nil
Indicative triage category

Category 1

Appointment within 30 days

  • No defined category 1 criteria

Category 2

Appointment within 90 days

  • No defined category 2 criteria

Category 3

Appointment within 365 days

  • Residual ear wax despite treatment with no other complications
  • Excluded condition unless the following features apply:
    • Patients should be referred to ENT if resistant ear wax, after recommended treatment, and at least one of the following symptoms is present:
      • Significant hearing loss, pain, discharge, dizziness/vertigo, or facial weakness
Useful information
  • Nil
Last reviewed: 02-10-2023