A custom-manufactured pressure-relief valve has improved the operation of an earwax removal device. The valve Model #130 valve with 3/8-in. OD from Smart Products is customized with a plastic body, special O-ring material, and precise opening pressure. The customized components ensure the valve works precisely within the Earigator. Pressure control is critical, so the Model #130 valve is the first line of security within this system. Should the water pressure reach a certain point, the Model #130 activates to divert pressurized water back to the reservoir. For additional safety, a pressure switch shuts off the Earigator system completely if needed.
The original device was invented in the 1990s by otologist Dr. Irwin Ginsberg. He and others noted that too much earwax – cerumen – can lead to ear pain, ringing, itching, or loss of hearing. Because ears are delicate sensors, it’s often a good idea to seek professional treatment. Formerly, this involved irrigation with a syringe. This manual procedure puts a stream of pressure from three to more than 110 psi depending on the applied force. There is also a lack of precise temperature control, general messiness, and patient discomfort. Ginsberg noted other drawbacks, such as a risk of injuring the ear’s external canal or the eardrum itself. Medical device manufacturer Nupur Technologies acquired rights to the unit and improved it in several ways.
“We have re-engineered the Earigator to a state-of-the-art design, with improved features. We have also significantly reduced costs. The product today will sell at less than half of the previous design,” Nupur Technologies CEO Joseph Priest explains.
Cleaning earwax is a common procedure. “But no one ever thought about improving the control and speed with which the procedure could be accomplished,” adds Priest.
The newly launched Earigator controls the temperature of the irrigating solution at 98ºF (37°C) and holds the pressure at 10 to 12 psi. The design now combines the functions of an otoscope and irrigation device in one product. The otoscope lets users clearly view and pinpoint the cerumen buildup before and during the procedure.
The hand piece includes a flow control trigger, water nozzle, magnifying glass, and LED lights. A procedure usually lasts three to five minutes. The Earigator makes earwax removal safer, faster, less messy, and lessens patient discomfort.