Earwax is a normal build-up of dead cells, hair, foreign material such as dust, and natural wax which forms a protective coating on the skin in the ear canal. You only need to remove earwax if it is causing symptoms such as dulled hearing or when fitting a hearing aid.
If you think you have ear wax, do not try to clean the ear canal with cotton wool buds. This can make things worse, as you will push it deeper inside. It may also cause an ear infection.
Ear drops alone will clear a plug of earwax in most cases. Put 2 or 3 drops of ordinary olive oil down the ear 2 or 3 times a day for 2-3 weeks. You can buy a dropper from the pharmacy. This softens the wax so that it then runs out of its own accord without harming the ear. You can continue for any length of time, but 3 weeks is usually enough
How to insert drops:
- Warm the drops to room temperature before using them
- Pour a few drops into the affected ear
- Lie with the affected ear uppermost when putting in drops
- Stay like this for 10 minutes to allow the drops to soak into the earwax.
Ear syringing is only recommended in the rare occasions where ear drops have failed to work. If you think you have persisting wax despite taking the above measures please make an appointment with your doctor or nurse to discuss.