Ear Wax Patient Information
Wax is an important and natural secretion found in the ear. It protects the ear against dust, dirt and bacteria, so it helps to prevent infection. The ear is self-cleaning and the wax should clear naturally, so it is unnecessary to try to remove the wax yourself. It is only produced in the outer part of the ear canal. There are small hairs, which are responsible for moving the wax out towards the outside world. If you use cotton buds, paper clips or your finger you actually push 90% of the wax further in, usually packing it into a hard mass. People ask, “What can you do to clean your ears then?” The answer is the hairs described above, do it all. Leave them alone and you’ll have no further problems.
If wax requires clearing use olive oil 3 drops, twice a day and before bed for 3 weeks. This is usually sufficient, and the wax will often come out by itself. When introducing drops into the ear, lie with your head on one side for a couple of minutes to allow the drops to move along the ear canal. After this period, cotton wool may be used to soak up any excess from the outside of the ear.
If you often get a build-up of ear wax, using a couple of drops of olive oil once a week may help prevent the build-up.
Only VERY RARELY should syringing be needed. Even if syringing is carried out carefully by trained staff, it can cause complications such as ear infections, perforated ear drums, tinnitus, vertigo and deafness. Ear syringing should only be used as an absolute last resort. It is important to try the ear drops as recommended. If this does not work after 3 weeks and your ears are still blocked with ear wax, then please contact the surgery and book an appointment with the nurse to check your ears. The Nurse will then decide if an ear syringe is necessary.