At LMP we want patients to have the best treatment possible and so we encourage you to engage in self-care if you are experiencing issues with ear wax. The options are either ear drops, or if they aren’t effective then studies have shown that self-irrigation using a bulb-syringe is a fantastic form of self-treatment.
What is ear wax?
Ear wax is normal and is produced to form a protective coating over the skin in the ear canal. Ears are normally self-cleaning – the movement of your jaw whilst eating and talking helps to move the wax along the canal where it will usually fall out naturally without you noticing.
Why is my ear blocked with wax?
The amount of ear wax produced varies from person to person; some people produce excessive amounts which can lead to a blockage in the ear canal.
You are more likely to develop a blockage of wax in the canal if you:
- use cotton ear buds to clean the ear as this pushes the wax deeper into the canal
- wear a hearing aid, ear plugs or use in-ear headphones - as these can all interfere with the natural process of wax expulsion
- have abnormally narrow ear canals
- have a particularly hairy ear canal
- are elderly – because the ear wax you produce is drier and harder
- have a dry skin problem such as eczema or psoriasis.
Ear wax only becomes a problem if it causes deafness, discomfort or if your health professional requires a clear view of your ear drum.
If there is a buildup of wax in your ear(s) please read our self-help guide
Never use cotton buds in your ears! This pushes the wax further into the ear making it worse. It can also cause ear infections and damage the ear drum.
Please do not attempt to self-treat if any of the following apply to you:
• Pain in the ear
• If you have an offensive discharge or bleeding from the ear (this may mean you have an ear infection)
• A history of ear drum perforation in the affected ear
• A recent history of an ear infection in the affected ear
• Symptoms of infection in the ear – usually pain or a smelly discharge
• If you only have one hearing ear which is the affected ear
• Previous ear surgery on the affected ear
• Sudden deafness or buzzing
• Foreign bodies in the ear
If you experience any of the above, you should seek advice from your GP or Advanced Clinical Practitioner at Lancaster Medical Practice.
We will never refuse appointments for those who have ear pain.
Please note: Lancaster Medical Practice is no longer providing an ear syringing service.
We are committed to providing best practice and high quality medical care to our registered patients. Ear syringing is no longer considered to be the first line treatment for the clearing of ear wax and it is not a funded service within the NHS for General Practice.