Safe, professional earwax removal
- Too much oil can make things worse .. we explain why below.
- Never use cotton buds, you will just push the wax deeper.
- Earwax-blocked ears is just one of those things that happens as we get older.
Read on or book a convenient appointment now. You’ll be so glad you had it done.
Let’s talk earwax for a minute
The wax in your ear has an important job to do. It helps to trap dust, dirt and bacteria and prevent them from reaching your eardrum and beyond. If you’ve ever had an inner ear infection, you’ll know it’s something to avoid .. it can be very painful and even dangerous.
Earwax is great. So what’s the problem?
Earwax is made by cells in the outer part of your ear canal and it gradually works its way out, naturally as your ear moves when you talk or chew. It carries with it any detritus that shouldn’t be there, keeping your ear canal clean.
As we get older, those movements that ease out the wax are not quite so strong but we produce the same amount of earwax. Wax can take longer to leave the ear, and so sometimes it can build up.
Now we can experience a few problems. The wax can become drier and harder, and although most of the time there is an opening for sound to reach your eardrum so you can hear, you may find some moments where your ear feels blocked or you feel underwater, but it clears. Sometimes you can waggle your ear and clear it. But if this stays or happens more frequently wax can block the ear canal and require intervention. If you get to this stage, it feels really good to get it sorted.
If you are not sure whether your earwax is affecting your hearing you could book in for a free hearing test. During this thorough examination we compare what you hear through the normal ear canal route to what you hear through bone conduction. If there’s a big difference, we can usually say that’s down to an earwax blockage (we would obviously also be able to see it), so we can quantify the hearing impairment you are experiencing due to earwax.
But people are creative and no-one really wants to come in for the best part of an hour for earwax removal so people try all sorts of things.
Ear drops are one option. Many people who have previously had their earwax removed at their doctor’s surgery know to drop in some olive oil to soften the hard wax. This makes it easier for the pulsing water jet system previously used at the medical centre to wash out all the wax.
The problem is, most people put in too much oil. All that’s required is one drop of olive oil every night before bed for a week.
What’s wrong with using too much oil? Your earwax is produced in the outer third of your ear canal, which has two bends in it. Oil can make a thin wax slurry that can slip deep into the ear canal where there shouldn’t be any wax, and it can ultimately coat the eardrum. That’s harder to fix.
The best answer we’ve found is to use an olive oil spray designed for the purpose. It dispenses the optimal amount of oil in a controlled way and it is easily self-administered, we recommend it is used sparingly. We have some in stock if you would like to get in touch.
Audiology forums are full of stories where people have tried to unblock their ears themselves and it hasn’t gone to plan.
If you’ve read this far, you know that earwax should only be in the outer part of the ear canal. What’s going to happen if you push a cotton bud into your ear? There’s every chance you’ll push wax in deeper, meaning you’ll definitely need medical intervention to get it out.
Some people have even bought their own ear syringing machines and given themselves a perforated eardrum or a middle ear infection. Water in the ear is how infections often start.
Online you will probably have seen an advertisement for a white plastic corkscrew device that looks rather like a plasterboard fixing, the implication being that, if screwed into your ear it would bring forth the wax without pushing it deeper. If that worked, audiologists would use them.
Ear candling? It may relax you but it doesn’t remove earwax. The stuff inside the candle afterwards? That’s not earwax.
There’s a reason professional earwax removal services exist.
Here’s how we do earwax removal professionally and safely.
We use microsuction, essentially a tiny vacuum cleaner.
It’s safer than traditional ear syringing because it doesn’t introduce water into your ear. We do not use ear syringing with a water jet as it only provides a general swill-out with very little control over the water jet.
Using microsuction with visualisation, we have a precision method we can use to target exactly where it’s needed.
Be aware that our appointments can take 40 minutes, so you can be assured we will take the necessary time and care to do everything right. Our rate is £55 for an appointment to work on both ears.
We do have to caution that, of course, we don’t know your ears when you book your appointment, so although it’s very likely we will be able to clean both your ears in that one appointment, it is possible you may have to come back for a follow up (which we would usually provide at no extra charge). If you collect and use the oil spray for about a week before your appointment, that helps ensure success.
What happens after you’ve had earwax removal? Firstly, enjoy it, it’s a lovely feeling.
Protective earwax will continue to be produced in your ear and within a very short time you will be protected once more and your earwax will work its way out in the normal way, and everything will be fine until it builds up again. It’s not uncommon for people of retirement age to want earwax removal annually.
After this, you may wish to book in for a free hearing test. Regardless of the earwax situation, hearing loss is quite hard to spot yourself because .. you don’t know what you are not hearing. As we get older, it’s usual to experience some hearing loss, and a proper test is the only way to know what you are missing so you can adapt.
You can book online now.