Ear Wax

What is Ear Wax?

Ear wax is natural substance produced by the ears to protect the sensitive skin and tissues.

The amount of wax you produce varies greatly from person to person and usually causes no problems!

If you think you have a build-up of earwax that is affecting your hearing, please do NOT clear it with cotton buds; this can damage the ear and cause infection


Earwax usually falls out on its own. If it does not, you can use ear drops, and if that does not work, you can purchase a bulb syringe.

Most people do not require ear syringing or suction removal.

Ear Wax Drops

Drops help soften the wax, so that is comes out of its own accord - safely and without causing any damage to the ear.


We recommend using olive oil.


How to use olive oil drops 

  • Put 2-3 drops of olive oil into the ear, 2-3 times a day, for at least 2 weeks
  • Warm the drops to room temperature before using them
  • Lie on your side with the affected ear facing up when putting in drops
  • Gently pull and push your outer ear to work the drops in
  • Stay lying down for 10 minutes to allow the drops to soak into the earwax
  • Avoid placing cotton wool into the ear - all that will do is absorb the oil away from the wax
  • In the first few days you may initially feel the ears getting more blocked - this is normal, as the wax liquifies


Alternative drops 

If olive oil doesn’t work, you can buy sodium bicarbonate drops from shops and pharmacies.


In most cases ear drops will clear a plug of earwax.

Ear Drops

Bulb Syringe

You may need to use a bulb syringe if drops have been inaffective.  

An ear bulb syringe is a small bulb shaped rubber object which can be filled with water and then used to squirt the water gently into the ear to remove earwax.

Please ensure you have:

  1. Used ear drops for at least 2 weeks prior
  2. Please read the manufacturer’s instruction leaflet 


How to use a bulb syringe

  • Wash your hands and get a bowel of clean warm water
  • Prepare the syringe by squirting it in the water a few times to fill it up with warm water
  • Gently pull your outer ear up and out to help straighten out the canal
  • Tilt your head so the ear to be treated is facing upwards
  • Place the tip of the syringe into the opening of the ear – Do NOT push the syringe further into the ear - and GENTLY squirt one or more bulb syringes of water into your ear
  • Allow the water to remain in your ear for at least 60 seconds
  • Gently tilt your head in the opposite direction and wiggle the outer ear to help the wax come out

Stop immediately if this is painful


When not to use a bulb syringe?

  • Do not use a bulb syringe in the following circumstances:
  • Pain or smelly discharge in the ear
  • History of eardrum perforation in the affected ear
  • Recent history of an ear infection in the affected ear (allow 6 weeks following the infection)
  • If you only have one hearing ear which is the affected ear
  • Previous ear surgery on the affected ear


What should I do if the above has not worked?

If ear drops and bulb syringing have not worked, please make a routine appointment with the practice nurse, to check the ear.

If necessary, after that initial ear check, they may advise to book in for ear syringing, or some other treatment.


Remember, if you have any of the following, speak to your doctor:

  • Pain
  • Smelly discharge
  • Blood
  • Tinnitus (ringing)
  • Vertigo (dizziness)
  • Fever