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Ear Wax Treatment - Patient Information

Dated: 6-Apr-16

The ear is a very delicate, fragile and extremely clever instrument allowing us to hear sounds and to balance but can be easily damaged.

Everyone produces ear wax. This wax coats the skin of the ear canal, acting as a protective layer which traps dust and other particles which get in the ear. Small amounts are made all the time and it slowly works its way to the outside. For some the wax can build up, sometimes it’s pushed further into the ear canal with cotton buds, hearing aids or ear phones. If this happens the wax becomes hard and impacted and may stop you hearing properly.

The current advice from the ear nose and throat specialists is: 
To instill 2 or 3 drops of ordinary olive oil into the ear/s 2 or 3 times a day for 3 to 4 weeks.(other formulated preparations available from the pharmacy are not recommended as they can sometimes irritate healthy ears and alter the natural acidity of the ear canal which helps prevent infection).
Apply as follows:
  • Tip your head to one side, or lay on your side, and gently pull the outer ear backwards and upwards
  • Drop a couple of drops of warm olive oil into the ear, and gently massage the area in front of your ear
  • Keep the head tipped or continue lying down for 5-10 minutes, then wipe away any excess oil.
You can keep on with the drops for any amount of time but 4 weeks is usually enough. If after 4 weeks you are still deaf then please see your GP or Practice Nurse who will examine the ear and decide on the next course of action. 

Ongoing Management: To prevent wax build up you can use olive oil or 5% Sodium Bicarbonate drops a couple of times a week. Wax normally comes out of the ear with the skin of the ear canal over about two weeks.

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