We do not carry out routine ear syringing. We are being overwhelmed by requests from patients based on personal hygiene issues rather than any medical reason. Most cases are resolved by following the suggestions outlined below:
What is ear wax?
Ear wax is a build up of oils naturally occurring in the ear, dead cells, sweat, hair and foreign material e.g. dust. It is normal and necessary to produce ear wax to protect the ear canal. The quantity produced varies greatly between each individual.
Ear wax needs to be removed only if:
- The hospital audiology department has requested removal for the fitting of hearing aids.
- The Doctor or Nurse requires a clearer view of your eardrum due to hearing loss or other medical reasons.
The best method used to clear troublesome ear wax is to use olive oil. You will require a dropper for administering this effectively (available from your chemist).
Ear drops should always be used at room temperature. Apply a dropper full into the affected ear and lie on your side for about 5 minutes with the affected ear facing upwards. This allows the drops to soak into the wax and soften it. Repeat 4 times a day for 10-14 days.
You should NOT use cotton buds to clear the wax as this could result in you damaging your ear or cause the wax to become more compacted. If at any time during this treatment you develop pain you should see your Doctor.
If after this time symptoms persist you should make an appointment to see the Nurse as ear syringing may be necessary.
But please note if you have not treated with olive oil for 7 days (and the nurse will be able to tell) your ears will not be syringed.
Ear syringing is not suitable for everyone and should probably not be used if any of the following apply to you:
- You have a current or had a perforated ear drum in the past
- A discharge from the ear unlike wax
- Have a grommet
- Had any ear surgery within the last 18 months
- Have or had a repaired cleft palate
- Have an ear infection with painful ear canal
- The ear to be syringed is your only hearing ear as damage during syringing could cause permanent deafness
- Young uncooperative children
- You suffer from tinnitus
Please inform the Doctor or Nurse if any of the above applies before syringing.
Some private local services also offer earwax removal services.
For further information please watch the following video: