Wax in the ears is a common minor ailment that can cause annoyance out of proportion to its seriousness.
Wax build-up occurs more as we get older, and also if we use earphones, swim or wear ear protectors. Wax build-up can reduce your hearing so that whilst you can hear people speak, it is difficult to make out what they are saying– the clarity of speech is lost.
Wax can cause earache, deafness, dizziness and can make normal everyday tasks such as using the telephone or watching TV difficult.
Our patients tell us it can take a long time to get ear wax removed on the NHS – often requiring waiting for an appointment with the GP to check your ears, then waiting again for an appointment with the Practice Nurse or the hospital to get them syringed.
We will usually be able to offer you an appointment to check your ears and syringe the wax out on the same day. When the wax is removed, we always check both your eardrums to make sure there is no other problem which was being masked by the wax. Occasionally, hearing may not get better after syringing because the wax wasn’t the problem. In this case, we offer on-site hearing tests to investigate further and can refer you to a hearing-aid specialist if you would like.
If you would like to book in for ear syringing, use wax softening ear drops for a couple of times a day for about 3 days beforehand. This makes the syringing easier and more comfortable. Any wax softening drops from the chemist are fine although most people simply use ordinary olive oil that you would have in your kitchen at home. Pour a little oil into a teaspoon and gently drip a couple of drops into each year for a few days before syringing.
If you need both ears syringing – as is usual – you may feel a little dizzy after the treatment for a few minutes. So, if you are driving, we will offer you a drink and ask you to wait in our waiting-room for 15 minutes before you leave.