Our earwax removal service is back up and running, but we understand you might feel more comfortable staying at home for now. So we’ve answered some of your questions around earwax removal, how best to deal with it and what to avoid while you’re at home.

How can I safely clean my ears?

Your ears are self-cleaning, so nine times out of ten you don’t need to do anything, you can just leave them to it. If you feel like your ears do need a clean though, there are a few things you should know in order to clean them safely.

The only time you’d need to clean your ears is when there is a build-up of earwax which can interfere with your hearing and could lead to things like ear infections.

To keep them in good condition generally, you could use a warm flannel to clean the outside of your ears (making sure that you don’t put anything in your ear) to clear away any excess wax or debris. 

You should never try to remove impacted or built up earwax yourself, the best way to safely clean your ears in these cases is to see a professional. So if you’re having problems and are unable to see a professional for earwax removal, then you should call an audiologist or pharmacist who will be able to give you some advice over the phone. 

Do I need to soften my earwax and what can I use?

Managing earwax usually starts with ear drops to soften the wax. Sometimes this can expand the wax so the issue might seem a little worse, but it’s a helpful process when it comes to removing it. 

Typical ear drop types include: sodium bicarbonate 5%, sodium chloride 0.9%, olive oil, or almond oil. Ear drops can’t be used if it’s suspected that your eardrum is damaged, or if you have a history of ear infections. 

Can olive oil dissolve earwax?

Olive oil can sometimes be used to soften earwax, but it can’t dissolve it. You shouldn’t put anything in your ears if you have a history of ear infections or if your eardrum is damaged – so it’s always best to get some advice from a professional before you try doing this yourself.

Can I use candles to remove earwax?

We would advise against using candles to try and remove earwax. There’s not a lot of evidence to suggest that it’s an efficient or safe way to remove wax, not to mention the added risk of having hot wax and a flame so close to your face and head. 

Can you remove impacted earwax at home?

No – we’d strongly advise against trying to remove impacted earwax at home as there’s a risk of causing more permanent damage to your ears in doing so. As a rule of thumb, don’t put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear. 

Are at-home earwax removal kits safe?

You should avoid buying any at-home earwax removal kits without first getting some advice from an audiologist or pharmacist. They’ll be able to recommend the safest way to remove earwax. 

Are cotton buds safe to use?

Cotton buds can pose a lot of unnecessary risk to your ear health – it can push the wax further into the ear canal and put pressure on, or even damage, your eardrum – so it’s best to avoid using them.

What can I do if my ear still feels blocked?

If your ear still feels blocked, get in touch with an audiologist or pharmacist. They might recommend another option to try or refer you on for further help. 

Is there specialised advice for people who wear hearing aids?

Earwax can sometimes prevent hearing aids working to their full potential, so regular cleaning and maintenance is important to keep up with – a yearly appointment is also a good idea. If you feel your hearing has changed or you have any of the symptoms of impacted earwax, you should get in touch with your audiologist for a check-up. 

While we’re not yet open as usual, our experts are still available to help you. So if you ever have any questions or concerns about your hearing or ear health, you can talk to us by video or on the phone with our new service, RemoteCare.

If you notice anything unusual with your hearing, get in touch with your local store to find out how we can help.

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