Please review the information below prior to contacting us for an appointment. 

How to use Ear Drops

Olive oil encourages the natural movement of wax from the outer ear

It is advisable to buy a ‘dropper’ from your local pharmacist but there is no need to by expensive olive oil; it is just as effective to use the oil that you would cook with.

We recommend applying 1-2 drops at twice a day, for two weeks prior to an appointment, as this is helpful for wax removal and may resolve the problem all together.

Ear irrigation is an invasive procedure which carries a risk of perforating the ear drum and should be a considered a last resort.

1. Lie down on your side with the affected ear upwards.

2. Gently pull the outer ear backwards and upwards (see diagram below). Using room temperature olive oil and the dropper drop 1-2 drops in the ear canal and gently massage the area in front of the ear.

3. Remain lying down for 10 minutes and then wipe away any excess oil.

DO NOT put any cotton wool in your ear canal as this will absorb the oil.

4. Repeat the procedure with the opposite ear if necessary.

About Ear Wax: Everything you need to know about earwax

Specialised glands known as cerumen glands actively create ear wax deep under the skin of the ear canal. Connected to the glands are the cerumen ducts which allow the ear wax to travel to the surface of the skin to be deposited in the ear canal via the numerous cerumen pores.

Earwax plays a very important part in protecting our ears on a daily basis by reacting to foreign bodies and surrounding them. Once enveloped the captured microbial organisms, dead skin cells and various other debris is removed from the ear canal by the earwax migrating outwards.

So we know that earwax is a normal and necessary process of protecting our ears, it repels insects, maintains normal PH levels and traps dirt and dust from the environment.

BUT WHAT TO DO WHEN WE DEVELOP TOO MUCH EARWAX?

If left untreated the earwax can continue to build up, making it even more difficult to remove and leaving your ears feeling blocked and reducing your hearing. In some cases the blockage can be so severe that people are left feeling constant pressure and pain.

Here are some typical indicators of earwax build up:

  • Loss of hearing
  • Earache
  • Tinnitus...noises in the ear
  • Constant or intermittent whistle from hearing aids
  • Your own voice sounds deeper and hollow to yourself
  • Itchy ears

Earwax can be particularly bothersome for people with hearing aids because it can cause hearing aids to whistle loudly and uncontrollably or even prevent the hearing aids from working at all.

EARWAX IS THE NUMBER ONE CAUSE OF A WHISTLING HEARING AID

The whistling will only stop once the earwax is removed so that the sounds produced by the hearing aids can travel efficiently through the ear canal and no more whistling will occur.

Do It Yourself Methods of Ear Wax Removal

Cotton buds

AKA ear buds, these are a definite NO NO!

They only serve to push whatever is in your ear further down and possibly onto the ear drum, which, at best, makes an ear wax situation worse, and, at worst, could lead to an ear drum perforation and permanent hearing loss.

It is undoubtedly satisfying to poke around your own ear with a cotton bud, but it serves no other useful purpose and should be avoided at all costs!

Olive oil

This treatment has been recommended by GPs, nurses, clinicians, audiologist and pharmacists for decades. The idea is to use a small amount of olive oil to soften and loosen hard wax so that it falls out of its own accord. It is often recommended as a pre-treatment prior to a syringing or irrigation procedure.

Often people ignore the one or two drop advice, however, or it is difficult to administer, and too much oil ends up in the ear and gets blocked by the wax causing temporary hearing loss.

It is also a messy procedure, as many olive oil-stained pillows, sofas and items of clothing can attest to!

Almond oil

Almond oil is sometimes advised in the case of very dry skin in the ear, where the skin flakes off and traps the wax in the ear canal, which can be a very annoying problem. The Almond oil can be effective in such cases because it helps to restore the ear’s natural PH level, thus enabling the skin to return to normal.

You should apply almond oil only sparingly however, and not at all if you are in doubt or if there is any chance whatsoever that you have a nut allergy.

Sodium bicarbonate drops

Sodium bicarbonate ear drops are used to soften dry and hardened earwax. This often reduces the need for the wax to be physically removed, and also makes ear irrigation easier when removal is necessary.

With prolonged use, however, sodium bicarbonate causes irritation, and if the wax is hard or impacted then these drops can sometimes help to relieve the pain, but could also block the ear if too much is applied.

Saline solution and ear pump

This is a common home remedy which involves forcing salt water into the ear with a handheld spray bottle. This can irrigate the wax out of the ear, but more often only pushes it further down the canal and onto the ear drum.

The ear pump works to the same principle, but it sucks up untreated water which is then squeezed into the ear at a high pressure. This kind of irrigation is problematic in even in the hands of a trained nurse, so performing it yourself or asking a family member to administer the treatment at home is ill advised, and more likely to result in water getting stuck in your ear (and causing an infection) than in relief from your ear wax condition.

Hot needle

In India, on the roadside, this is normal practice. A flame supposedly sterilizes the needle and warms it up. This is then pressed into the ear wax and as it cools down, with a quick hooking motion the wax is then popped out of the ears.

However, there are other, much better and much safer choices to be made.

Hair grip

A rudimentary solution that, if you are extremely lucky, will hook the ear wax out.

However, sticking a sharp, dirty metal object into your ear is more likely to result in infection or damage to the canal wall, or, in the event of a slip or a push, a perforated ear drum.

Please don’t.

Car keys

It happens.

But it really, really shouldn’t.