Strathpeffer Medical Practice, School Road, Strathpeffer, Ross-shire, IV14 9AG
Telephone: 01997 421455
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Dingwall Branch Surgery, Pavilion Court, Dingwall, Ross-shire, IV15 9SU | Telephone: 01997 421455 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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. The quantity of earwax produced varies greatly from person to person.
A doctor or nurse can look into the ear canal and confirm a plug of earwax has formed. A plug of earwax is not a serious problem, more a nuisance. You only need to remove earwax if it is causing symptoms such as dulled hearing or when fitting a hearing aid.
How to remove Ear wax:
Note: 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 some earwax 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. 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. Surprisingly, you will not necessarily see wax come out. It often seems to come out unnoticed.
If you are prone to repeated wax built up you can continue to use olive oil drops twice a week to prevent recurrence. If olive oil does not work you can buy sodium bicarbonate drops from pharmacies.
How to use ear drops:
Bulb syringing is a safe, alternate way to remove ear wax. Bulb syringes can be easily purchased from a pharmacy and allow you to clear your ears of wax in your own home.
If your ears are painful or have fluid coming out of them, or if you have a hole in the ear drum (perforation) or have recently had surgery on your ear you should see a doctor or nurse and don’t use this method.
Instructions for Bulb Syringing:
Use olive oil drops twice a day for at least 14 days prior to bulb syringing. Or alternatively use sodium bicarbonate ear drops purchased from your pharmacy (please read the manufacturers leaflet.)
If, after 3 weeks or more, you are still deaf from wax, you will need to make an appointment with a doctor to decide what should be done.
Ear irrigation (ear syringing):
Ear irrigation is only recommended in the rare occasions where ear drops and bulb syringing has failed to work. Ear syringing can lead to ear infections, perforated ear drum and tinnitus (persistent noise) and therefore it is only performed in exceptional circumstances. If you think you have persisting wax despite taking the above measures please make an appointment with your doctor or nurse to discuss.