Earwax is an important substance which helps prevent dust, bacteria, dirt etc from entering the deep part of the ear.
Usually, earwax naturally falls out of the ear unaided. However, sometimes earwax may begin to build up inside the ear canal. If it completely blocks the ear canal, earwax can cause hearing loss, or it may cause a hearing aid to whistle. In either of these circumstances, the earwax will require assistance in order to exit the ear canal.
To start with, you could try using eardrops to loosen and soften the earwax*, helping it to make its way out of the ear. A pharmacist will help you choose the most suitable eardrops. If you follow the directions closely, you should hope to see a result within a week.
If the earwax blockage continues after this time, it is sensible to visit a GP to enquire whether ear syringing (also known as ear irrigation) may be an appropriate next step. All of our expert private GPs at The Walcote Practice in Winchester, Hampshire are experienced at ear syringing/irrigation, and will be pleased to offer you this service in our clinic room or at your own home.
What happens during ear syringing/irrigation?
You will sit down comfortably, and the GP will squirt a controlled flow of warm water into your ear canal. The doctor may gently move your ear or head into different positions to help the water reach all parts of your ear canal. The doctor will look inside your ear from time to time with an auriscope to check on progress, and may repeat the syringing a number of times if required.
The procedure is painless, however the doctor will ask you to tell them if it leads to certain symptoms such as dizziness which may indicate an ear infection.
Ear syringing/irrigation usually works well, however occasionally it may not be possible to remove very stubborn earwax using ear syringing. In these cases, The Walcote Practice will be pleased to offer you a referral to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist for further assessment and treatment.
To book an appointment for private ear syringing/irrigation at The Walcote Practice, please call 01962 828715.
* Please note that eardrops and ear syringing/irrigation are not always appropriate for every individual, therefore you must always ask a pharmacist or a doctor for advice before commencing such treatments.