Here at Bowen Opticians, looking after you is what we do best, which is why we have collaborated with The Hearing Care Partnership to bring a comprehensive hearing care service into our practice in Worle. Together, we offer a wide array of services designed to address all your hearing needs. These services include Ear Wax Removal. But what is wax removal, and why do people need it? Lets find out!
What Is Ear Wax?
Ear wax (or cerumen) is a perfectly normal secretion of the ear canal. It is an important part of our ears’ function, lubricating the ear canal and providing natural protection against bacteria, water, dust and other foreign bodies.
Our ears are generally self-cleaning so small amounts of wax will work their way out of the ear naturally. However, a build-up of excess ear wax can occasionally occur, meaning professional ear wax removal is necessary.
Excess ear wax build-up can happen due to things like prolonged use of earphones, earplugs, or extensive self-cleaning of the ears (with cotton buds or other unsafe implements).
What Causes Excessive Wax?
Although ear wax is a natural production of the ear and usually works its way out on its own, there are some factors that either cause excessive ear wax or cause a blockage of the ear canal from wax. These can include:
- Self-cleaning with implements such as cotton buds
- Other DIY cleaning methods
- Overuse of earphones or earplugs
- Narrow or damaged ear canals
- Lots of hair in your ear canals
- A skin condition affecting your scalp or ear area
- Inflammation of your ear canal (otitis externa or “swimmer’s ear”)
How Do I Know If I Need Ear Wax Removal?
You may need ear wax removal if you’ve been experiencing any of these symptoms:
- Lower or muffled hearing
- A feeling of ‘fullness’ in the ears
- Pain or earache
- Tinnitus (noises being heard without external source e.g. ringing or buzzing)
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, then ear wax may be the cause. If so, you can book an appointment with one of our skilled clinicians who will be able to check your ears and remove any wax that may be present. They will also provide a hearing health check at no additional cost.
If you have an ear infection, ear wax removal won’t be a suitable treatment for you, but some of the symptoms could be the same. Make sure you see your GP first if you’re also experiencing:
- High temperature
- Discharge from the ear
- Nausea and vomiting
- Scaly skin in and around the ear
- Low energy or fatigue
- Sore throat
- Severe earache
How Do We Remove Ear Wax?
If you only have a small amount of ear wax that’s built up near the entrance of your ear canal, manual removal is the best option.
For this, a variety of tools may be used to safely remove wax from the ear canal.
The safest and cleanest way to remove ear wax from moderately blocked ears is the microsuction method.
A probe is gently inserted then connected to a vacuum pump to suction out the excess wax from the ear canal.
This is safer, gentler and more effective technology than the old “syringing” method.
With water irrigation, body temperature (37°C) water is used to flush debris out of the ear canal at a low pressure.
It’s ideal for removing larger quantities of ear wax.
Can My GP Remove Ear Wax?
Unfortunately, many people have reported no longer being able to access free earwax removal services from their GP. This depends on the area and surgery, but is often down to the fact that the old ‘syringing’ method – previously widely available on the NHS – has been found to be unsafe and is no longer used.
While the NHS could switch to modern, safe removal techniques, GP practices are not always provided funding to offer these services. And if they do, waiting times can be very long. The RNID charity is campaigning to re-establish this vital service throughout the NHS. But in the meantime, your best choice will often be an independent hearing care provider such as The Hearing Care Partnership.
What Does It Cost?
Ear Wax Removal costs £70. This is a flat free regardless of whether wax is found in one ear or both.
To book a wax removalm you can phone us on 01934 520520 and a member of the team will be happy to help. Or you can book online at https://booking.thcp.co.uk/location