Ear wax removal

 Ear wax

Ear wax is produced in the lateral portion of the ear canal and plays an important role in ear health. It is acidic and slightly antiseptic, and its natural progression is to carry dead skin and debris out of the ear canal to protect the delicate structures in the ear from infections and trauma.

We all produce different amounts of wax and the natural clearing mechanisms of the ear can sometimes fail, leading to a build-up of ear wax. This might happen for any number of reasons, including the use of cotton buds, excessive cleaning of the ear canals, ear hair, exostoses (‘surfers’ ear’ - bony growths in the canal) and dusty environments.

Why it needs to be removed

When the canals become blocked with wax, this can be an unpleasant experience at best, resulting in hearing loss, trapped water, tinnitus, balance impairment, discomfort, and pain.

Ears blocked with wax can lead to serious, potentially life-threatening, infections if left unattended. Infections can rapidly spread beyond the eardrum, even causing facial paralysis or permanent deafness, and requiring radical surgery to halt its progression.

Can I remove it myself?

There are considerable risks…Why take the risk?

The skin in the ear canal is incredibly thin and easily damaged by foreign objects, such as cotton buds or other removal devices, which also serve to damage the delicate mechanisms by which the wax naturally progresses out of the ear canal.

There is the very real prospect of perforating the eardrum, potentially resulting in permanent hearing loss, facial paralysis, and serious infections.

There are many conditions which the ear wax blocks from view, but which might require onward referral following detailed examination by a practitioner.

As an experienced clinician, who regularly sees the devastating results of self-removal, I would always recommend having a qualified practitioner remove wax.


Microsuction is a non-contact, safe and hygienic method of wax removal. The whole process is performed using top surgical loupes, under high magnification, resulting in the full, clear visualisation of the inside of the ear at every step.

Unlike syringing, there is no pressurised water being forced into the ear which, given the delicate structures involved and with the ear drum not in view, is not a risk-free procedure, especially in untrained or inexperienced hands.