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Why private ear wax clinics are booming now that GPs have stopped offering service

24th November 2021 Print

Ever since many GPs have stopped offering ear syringing, private ear wax removal has drastically increased in popularity. But why is ear wax removal so necessary that private ear wax clinics have seen such a boom? Let us take a look. 

What is ear wax removal? 

Ear wax, or cerumen, is produced in glands between the middle ear and the part of the ear visible outside your head, otherwise known as the outer ear canal. The wax shields the eardrum, trapping dust and dirt, moisturises the ear canal, and helps to fight infections. 

Typically, ear wax simply falls out of the ear on its own, and the glands continue to produce new ear wax. However, sometimes ear wax can build up within your ear canal, causing symptoms such as hearing loss, earache, blocked ears, tinnitus, and vertigo. 

In these situations, you may have to have the ear wax removed. It is important not to try and remove ear wax yourself using a cotton bud. Instead, opt for professional ear wax removal. 

How is ear wax removal carried out? 

There are a few different ways to remove ear wax, either at home or by a professional. These include: 

Ear drops 

Ear drops can be bought from a local pharmacy, or you can use medical grade olive oil. Simply use a dropper to gently drop two or three drops of solution into your ear up to four times a day, for a maximum of five days. 

Over the next week or two, you should see clumps of ear wax falling out of your ear, particularly after a good night’s sleep. However, you should never use ear drops if you have, or suspect you might have, a perforated eardrum. 

Ear syringing 

Ear syringing, or ear irrigation, uses warm water to loosen soft ear wax and flush it out of the ears. A specialist machine is used to pump the water into the ears so that the correct water pressure can be ensured at all times. You should see results after a couple of days. This should never be used on hardened ear wax. 

Ear microsuction

During ear microsuction, a small, thin tube is inserted into the ear, along with a strong microscope. Once the ear canal and blockage can be seen clearly, the tube – attached to a low-suction device – is used to suck up the ear wax and remove the blockage. 

This procedure is very precise, accurate, and effective, and only takes a few minutes. Unlike syringing and drops, ear microsuction can be suitable for people who have perforated eardrums. 

What ear wax removal procedures are no longer available on the NHS?

Syringing used to be available from your local GP; however, GP surgeries are now advised to use electronic irrigators or suction devices. These services aren’t always available on the NHS, as it is not classed as a medical necessity. Instead, it is classed as an enhanced service – a specialist audiology or ear, nose and throat procedure. 

Thus, patients might have to wait to be referred to a specialist only after it has become a repeated problem. Or, you can pay to have your earwax removed privately. 

Due to the necessity of being able to hear, not feel dizzy, and, of course, to reduce the effects of tinnitus, it is clear why private ear wax clinics are becoming increasingly popular since GPs stopped offering ear wax removal on the NHS.