Blocked ears (wax) care guidelines for patients

Earwax is a normal build-up of dead cells, hair, foreign material such as dust, and natural wax which forms a protective coating on the skin in the ear canal.  The quantity of earwax produced varies greatly from person to person. 

A plug of earwax is not a serious problem, more a nuisance. You only need to remove earwax if it is causing symptoms such as dulled hearing or when fitting a hearing aid.

Note: If you think you have ear wax, do not try to clean the ear canal with cotton wool buds. This can make things worse, as you will push some earwax deeper inside. It may also cause an ear infection.

Local Pharmacist

Your local pharmacist can recommend appropriate treatments like Earol which can help with the removal of the wax.

If, after the recommend time, you still have impaired hearing from wax, you can choose to decide what should be done there are several options which include:

Ear irrigation (ear syringing)

Ear irrigation is only recommended in the rare occasions where ear drops and bulb syringing has failed to work. Ear syringing can lead to ear infections, perforated ear drum and tinnitus (persistent noise). Ear irrigation is no longer available at this surgery, but it can be booked through the Extended hours service on 0300 123 7743.


A safer option is microsuction of the softened wax which can be performed privately by many companies

 Page last updated: 1 May 2019