Ear wax is part of an important bodily function that helps to protect and clear the ear, taking trapped dirt and debris with it when it falls out. Its sticky texture prevents bacteria and germs from moving further into the ear and causing infections, and it also helps lubricate the skin and maintains the ear’s natural PH balance to prevent irritation and dryness.
Usually, the body will produce enough earwax to maintain ear health. But, sometimes this wax can become hard or impacted, which can lead to problems such as hearing loss or discomfort.
It can be tempting to try and remove stubborn ear wax at home using household objects. However, according to new research, two thirds of Brits (65%) risk permanent damage to their hearing by attempting to remove earwax themselves.
That’s why Specsavers across Cornwall are urging customers to follow their expert guidance instead.
The golden rule
Most people don’t know that you should avoid putting anything in your ear that can push earwax further into your ear canal, or else you risk causing impacted wax, infection or even a perforated ear drum.
In order to protect your ear and hearing, you should never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear, or else you risk damage to your hearing.
Safe cleaning at home
When ear wax builds up, it can sometimes feel as if you’ve lost your hearing as noises can become more muffled, or you may experience ringing or a popping sensation or feel pain or a ‘fullness’ in your ear.
Ear wax does usually fall out on its own, however to avoid excess wax build up, it’s important to keep your ears clean. You should regularly wipe around the outside of your ear, particularly after showering or washing your face.
Often, eardrops or olive oil can help to soften the wax, making it easier to remove. However, these drops can cause the earwax to expand, making the blockage worse and potentially causing further irritation.
If you have any concerns about using these products you should always consult your pharmacist or GP. If you find that it’s still causing a persistent blockage, it’s best to seek professional advice.
Call the experts
Specsavers’ chief audiologist, Gordon Harrison, said: ‘We carry out an estimated 40,000 ear wax removals a year, so there is not much we haven’t seen. If your experiencing any trouble with your ears, please do give us a call - our experience and training make our audiology teams the go-to experts in this field.’
‘Our audiology stores are open for urgent and essential services, including earwax removal.’
 Specsavers Customer Panel 29/04/20 – 01/05/20 (survey of 1,643 people)