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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1

Why do I have excessive ear wax?

 

Some people just make more ear wax than others! Some things can exacerbate ear wax production, such as: dusty or dirty work environments, wearing hearing aids, ear plugs or earphones for long periods of time, eczema or psoriasis in the ears, narrow or very hairy ear canals and cotton bud use. Did you know - using cotton buds can stimulate the glands that create ear wax into actually making more!

Q2

Can I get my ear wax removed on the NHS?

 

Ear wax removal is no longer classed as an 'essential service.'  It is therefore no longer funded by many GP practices.  People with complex surgical ear histories can sometimes have their wax removed by their local E.N.T. department if excessive ear wax is causing significant problems.  If you have a complex ear history, such as history of mastoidectomy or have a perforated eardrum, speak to your GP or E.N.T. consultant.

Q3

Is microsuction better than ear syringing (ear irrigation)?

 

 

Microsuction usually takes less time, and is less likely to lead to infection than ear syringing.  Ear syringing uses water to irrigate the ears, which can sometimes cause water to get trapped in the ear and cause infections. Its also messier than microsuction!  If ear wax is very close to the ear drum, sometimes water may need to be used to shift the wax, as long as it is safe to do so.  You can avoid wax being too close to the eardrum by avoiding cotton buds, which may seem like they are working when you see a little wax on the end, but ultimately just push wax further in.  Click to find out more: What is Microsuction?

Q4

Can I remove my own ear wax at home?

 

You should not attempt to remove your own ear wax at home.  The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) state in their guidance that manual self syringing (such as water bulbs) and small implements like cotton buds must not be recommended to remove ear wax at home. For maximum safety ear wax removal should only be performed under direct observation of the ear canal and ear drum by a trained professional to avoid damage to the delicate canal walls and ear drum. Do not use cotton buds or other small implements to clean your ears.

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