About Your Appointment
About Your Appointment
About Your Appointment
Preparation For Your Appointment
The procedure will be more successful and comfortable for you if you use olive oil or an over-the-counter earwax softener prior to your appointment. If these guidelines are not followed then the procedure may fail and you may need to make a follow-up appointment, particularly if you have very hard or impacted wax to remove.
I would advise that you use 2 to 3 softening drops twice per day in each affected ear for at least 7 days prior to your appointment and 10 days if you think the wax is impacted or very hard. Softeners are available from pharmacists. I would recommend using olive oil drops.
Tips on insertion:
- Store the bottle in the warmest room in the house. No need to warm the oil as room temperature is fine
- Holding the prepared bottle, lie on your side with the affected ear towards the ceiling
- Gently pull the top of your outer ear backwards and upwards (see diagram) to open up the canal
- Place the filled dropper over the entrance to your ear canal and squeeze until 2-3 drops enter it
- Maintain your position lying down for 5 minutes then wipe away any excess
- Do not put cotton wool into the entrance of your ear canal as it will absorb the oil you have just put in and not allow it to soften the wax
- If a hearing aid is worn only apply the drops at night and avoid wearing the aid straight after as it may damage it
If after using the oil you get a bad taste in your mouth it could mean that you have a perforated eardrum that you did not know about. It may not be anything to worry about but you should stop using the ear drops and seek advice from your GP.
If you do have a perforation I will not be able to irrigate your ears with water and you will need to have micro-suction to remove any wax that is present.
General Ear Care Advice
- Do not use objects to clean your ear canals such as cotton buds, hair grips or sharp objects. Ears are self-cleaning and by using such objects you risk impacting the wax and causing trauma.
- If you are prone to a buildup of wax using olive oil drops just once per week will help to keep the wax soft enough for the ear to naturally remove it. Discontinue this if you experience any pain or discomfort and seek advice from your GP
- It is advisable to keep the ear as dry as possible for a minimum of 4 to 5 days following the procedure to minimise the risk of infection
- It is not recommended that ears are irrigated 2 weeks before flying
- Dry, flaky skin in the ear canal can trap wax as it does not allow the tiny hairs in the ear canal to move the wax out. Almond oil can be effective if there is a buildup of skin as it can help restore the ear’s natural PH balance so the skin can return to normal and the hair cilia work effectively. However, it should be applied sparingly and NEVER if there is any chance of a nut allergy. Discontinue if any pain or discomfort is experienced and seek advice from your GP.
- Tinnitus is noise-induced damage and is caused when the small muscles in the ear contract to protect the ear against noise. It can be temporary or permanent and there is no cure although there are treatments that can help make symptoms less noticeable for example using an electronic device to suppress the noise. There are online tinnitus support groups available (www.tinnitus.org.uk) and if it is affecting your mental health or impacting significantly on your everyday life seek advice from your GP for a referral to specialist services.
- There are also organisations and support groups for people with hearing loss and you may be able to get help paying for assistive listening devices to help with everyday life through social services or the fire service. (RNID)
You may feel dizzy or unsteady immediately after treatment so avoid fast movements such as sitting or standing up too quickly
If in the hours or days following ear wax removal you experience discomfort, pain, swelling, discharge or odour or if there is disruption to hearing, balance or tinnitus then seek advice from your GP
If hearing loss has not resolved 48 hours after the ear wax has been removed and you are sure that all the water has drained away request that your GP refers you to Audiology for a hearing test
The use of cotton buds or other devices to manually remove wax; self irrigation methods or Hopi candles are strongly discouraged as per current NICE guidelines (NICE 2018, NG98)
Education relating to the prevention and reduction of ear wax build-up includes regular use of softening agents and check-ups. Two to three drops of Olive Oil once per week may help to keep the wax soft enough for the ear to naturally remove it as it only tends to get stuck when it is dry and hard or if there are narrow or convoluted ear canals.
Following ear wax removal a build-up of wax may recur and require further management. There is no evidence available regarding how often ear wax should be removed or if regular removal actually encourages the production and accumulation of wax. The best indicator is that ear wax should ONLY be removed if it is causing problems and softeners are not relieving symptoms.