At Cotswold hearing we offer all methods of ear wax removal.
Our charges for wax removal are £40 for one ear or £60 for two.
Our practitioners have been certified by the Rotherham NHS Foundation trust to provide ear irrigation and instrumentation services and have undertaken training at University college London to conduct ear wax removal via microsuction. All three methods of wax removal have their own merits in removing an obstruction from an ear canal, during a consultation it is perfectly possible to use a mixture of all three methods to ensure your ear canals are clear. At your consultation we will examine your ear canals and establish which method is most suitable to your circumstances.
What is ear wax?
Ear wax is a combination of Cerumen – a liquid/oil produced in the first third of the ear canal via the ceruminous glands, squamous epithelium (dead skin), debris from our every-day environment and perspiration. The main bulk of the obstruction will be dead skin making it very difficult to remove via oils/lotions/potions that you may purchase from a pharmacist.
When an obstruction becomes noticeable it is likely that the addition of drops will just exacerbate the issues and professional removal is the only competent method to dislodge it. At Cotswold hearing we promote the use of EAROL spray, it is an olive oil based spray which will help to lubricate the ear and make removing the obstruction much more comfortable. This is readily available from your local pharmacist but also can be found online through your chosen search engine. In our experience other drops like Sodium bicarbonate/Earex/Otex etc have ingredients that tend to dry out the obstruction and make removal more difficult.
It is sensible to add a few drops/sprays of olive oil for 2-3 days prior to removal to help reduce the friction in the ear canal and lubricate the obstruction, allowing the obstruction to be removed with relative ease. Please see below an explanation of the methods we use to remove ear wax.
All three methods carry the same risks (with the exception of people who have had previous ear surgery ie mastoidectomy, which would preclude the use of water due to the heightened risk of infection). Although very low the risks are, perforation of the Tympanic membrane/Ear drum, tearing of the skin on the walls of the canal and infection. We ask all our patients to sign a disclaimer to say they are aware of the potential risks and that they are happy to keep their ears dry for a period of 48 hours after the procedure has been completed reducing the risk of infection after the procedure.
The three methods of wax removal.
Ear wax removal by irrigation replaces the old-fashioned technique of ear syringing. It is a far safer and much more effective method of ear cleaning. It uses an electronic pulse ear irrigation machine to remove ear wax. The machine contains a storage reservoir unit for water and a hand-held nozzle which gently pumps water into the ear canal at a controlled and steady rate. The water breaks down and dislodges the obstruction that has built-up, it then flushes the ear wax out of the canal and it is captured in a flask called a noots tank. This is a very effective method of wax removal as water can cleanse the entire canal and often will remove the obstruction in one appointment.
Please note that ear irrigation is not appropriate if you have:
A perforated eardrum, or if you have had a perforation in the last 18 months. Previously had problems with irrigation, such as pain in your ear or severe dizziness/vertigo. Have a discharge of mucus from your ear or have had an ear infection in the preceding two months. Have recurring or persistent infections in your ear canals. You have had any ear surgery (apart from cases of extruded grommets which had come out at least 18 months beforehand) or had a middle ear infection (otitis media) in the past six weeks.
Ear wax removal via microsuction is a very safe method of ear wax removal. It uses a suction machine attached to a metal probe to suck out debris that is in the ear canal. Microsuction is a very effective method of ear wax removal for those patients who have had previous ear surgery or malformation of the ear and ear canal as it does not use any water to break down the obstruction reducing the risk of any infection resulting from the procedure. The procedure is quite comfortable but can be quite loud at times and patients can find that they have a temporary threshold shift in their hearing for a matter of 30 minutes or so after the procedure has finished. If a patient suffers from tinnitus they may prefer to have irrigation to reduce the risk of exacerbating their tinnitus during the procedure.
Ear wax removal via instrumentation is the removal of an obstruction from an ear canal by effectively pulling it out. It is a completely dry method of removal and is utilised for both biological obstructions (ear wax) and removal of foreign bodies. By inserting the probe into the obstruction or behind the obstruction it can be safely and effectively removed. Depending on the consistency and location of the obstruction it may not be suitable to remove all types of obstructions from an ear canal.
Do Ear candles work? In short – NO!
According to the American academy of Audiology, there is no scientific evidence that ear candling pulls out debris from the ear canal. Scientific measurements of the ear canals before and after the procedure show no reduction in earwax. Researchers even found an increase in wax due to wax being deposited by the candles.
In a study published in the Iranian journal of otolaryngology, scientists noted the experience of 33-year-old woman who attended an ear clinic because of pain inside her ear. After doctors examined her, they found a yellowish mass in the ear canal. She mentioned that she had recently undergone an ear candling procedure at a massage centre. Doctors determined the mass was formed from candlewax that had dropped into her ear. When they removed it, the woman’s symptoms went away.
While there is no reliable evidence showing any benefits of ear candling, there are many showing its potential risks and harms.
Risks include – burns, perforated eardrums, ear canal blockages that require surgery, burns to the face, outer ear, eardrum, and inner ear. Candle wax falling into the ear causing a plug or inner ear damage, damage to the eardrum and hearing loss associated with a blockage or trauma.
At Cotswold hearing we strongly advise against the use of ear candling. In the UK the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence or NICE advise the use of ear candles has no benefit in the management of earwax removal and may result in serious injury and as such ear candling should never be used in the management of ear wax.