Ear Irrigation (by Doctor Referral Only)

It is important you see your GP to be referred to the service and follow the instructions below to soften wax build up before contacting the local District Nurse Service for an appointment. Not having your ears checked by a doctor means other problems such as infections or perforations may be overlooked.

Some wax in the ears is quite normal. It protects the skin of the ear canal; small amounts are made all the time.

The quantity of wax produced varies from person to person. Sometimes “plugs” form, causing a feeling of fullness in the ears and hearing may be reduced. A build up of wax is more common if you have narrow ear canals, you wear earplugs a lot, use a hearing aid, or work in a dusty environment.

Ear drops alone will often clear wax, but they should only be used if recommended by your doctor.

Ear irrigation with water may be required if drops don’t work. The wax must have been softened with drops before this will be done. Concentrate on one ear at a time if both are blocked.

Ear Drops

Using a dropper, put 5 – 6 drops of room temperature olive oil into the affected ear or ears 2 – 3 times a day for 2 – 3 weeks (or as prescribed by your GP).

This is best done lying on your side and letting the drops “soak in”. Do not put cotton wool into the ear immediately, as this will soak up the oil and it will be less effective.

General Advice

Do not poke anything into the ear such as cotton buds, grips etc. This can push the wax further down the ear canal and cause problems.

Try and avoid water entering the ear whilst bathing/showering/swimming. After bathing and showering, tilt the head to remove water from the ears and dry the outer ear with a towel.

Following Removal of Wax

The nurse may recommend you use 1 – 2 drops of olive oil on a weekly basis. This will help the wax to come out on its own and remain soft.