Ear Irrigation

In line with current guidelines we no longer carry out routine ear irrigation. Most cases are resolved by following the suggestions outlined below:

Ear wax is a build up of oils naturally occurring in the ear, dead cells, sweat,hair and foreign material e.g. dust. It is normal and necessary to produce ear wax to protect the ear canal. The quantity produced varies greatly between each individual.

If you know you have a wax problem causing deafness you can start treatment yourself. If you are deaf and don’t know why you should see a doctor or nurse. If we find it is wax causing it, or if the doctor wants to examine your eardrum and can’t see it, we will advise ear drops as outlined below.

Ear drops

These are considered to be the first line, and often only treatment required.

The most effective drops to use are either olive oil or sodium bicarbonate drops which are available from the chemist. You will require a dropper for administering any of the drops effectively.


Ear drops should always be used at room temperature. Apply a dropper full into the affected ear and lie on your side for about 10 minutes with the affected ear facing upwards. This allows the drops to soak into the wax and soften it. Repeat 2 or 3 times a day for at least 2 weeks.

You should NOT use cotton buds to try and clear the wax as this could result in you damaging your ear or cause the wax to become more impacted.

If at any time during this treatment you develop pain you should see a doctor.

If after 2 weeks symptoms persist you should make an appointment to see the nurse.

Patients who have an audiology appointment and need their ears checked beforehand should make an appointment to see the nurse in the usual way.

We know that you may be disappointed in this treatment if you have been used to syringing. But ear syringing can lead to ear infections, perforated ear drum and tinnitus (persistent noise) We must provide effective and safe treatment and feel sure that you will agree.