What is ear wax? 

Ear wax is an oily substance that helps protect your ears. It protects the skin of the human ear canal, assists in cleaning and lubrication, and provides protection against bacteria, fungi, and water. 

Ear wax usually comes out by itself; however, it can sometimes build up and can affect anyone. Those who have narrow ear canals or wear hearing aids may be more likely to have frequent wax build up. 

This build-up of wax can occur if cotton buds, or other objects are inserted into the ear canal or if there has been previous surgery. Excessive hair in the ear canal can also prevent the easy flow of wax. 

Hearing loss due to impacted wax can be frustrating and stressful and, if untreated, can contribute to social isolation and depression.

 When does ear wax need to be removed? 

You may need to remove ear wax if you have the following: 

  • Hearing loss 
  • Earache 
  • Tinnitus 
  • Itchiness 
  • Vertigo (a spinning sensation) thought to be caused by a wax blockage 

You may also need ear wax removed if you notice that it is affecting your hearing aids.


Ear Wax build up affecting hearing aids  

If you wear hearing aids and have wax build up. You may notice that your hearing aids are not working as efficiently. Significant amount of ear wax can cause hearing aids to ‘whistle’, which tends to stop once ear wax has been removed. Ensure you get your ears checked to see what the cause may be. 


What to do if you need ear wax removal 

Sometimes it will be necessary to get your ear wax professionally removed. However, you will often be advised to attempt self-management first, or you might just decide to try this first.   

The NHS recommends using medical grade olive oil ear drops 3-4 times a day for 3-5 days. Wax should then fall out of the ear during the next 2 weeks or so.

If professional removal is required, these ear drops can also be used to soften your ear wax prior to the removal process. After which it’s recommended that wax be removed via microsuction.


Where can I go for an ear & hearing health check-up? 

If you feel that you currently have issues with your ears or simply have a build-up of wax, please visit a Tympa Accredited Clinic using our clinic search tool below.

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