Ear Wax Removal
At HAB Hearing, based in Silsden, mid way between Keighley, Skipton and Ilkley, we offer an ear wax removal service (amongst a multitude of other hearing loss related services) to compliment what is available locally via NHS provision.
Blocked ear canals is an issue that does not affect everybody. Some find it never happens or is an occasional issue. For some it happens because they are working in a dusty environment regularly. As soon as they change occupation the problem goes away.
Some will find they have a problem for a number of years and it seems to sort itself out and lessen (or increase) over time as the body changes with age.
People that wear hearing aids, ear protection, or anything that means you put something in your ears regularly quite often find that build up of ear wax, skin flakes and other debris becomes an issue.
Ear wax is not a problem (for everyone!)
Ear wax in and of itself is not a problem, it’s actually a *good thing* to have ear wax in your ear canal. It performs a necessary function. Ear wax serves as a natural cleanser as it moves out of the ear. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Ear wax keeps the ear canal in tip top condition. It’s just if you have an excess of it and it builds up to a point where it mixes with skin flakes and other dust and debris to a point where you get a complete blockage and you’re in trouble!
Ear wax removal and hearing aid wearers
Speaking as a practising audiologist, an ongoing issue with wax build up in the ear canal creates extra issues for hearing aid wearers. (Although the problem of ear canal wax blockages are certainly not confined to hearing aid wearers!).
Hearing aid users are wearing their hearing aids all day typically. Wax migrates out of the ear canal like a VERY slow escalator. Ear wax moves out of your ear canal at about the same rate roughly as your fingernails grow! So a typical hearing aid wearer will insert their hearing aids each day. The wax that would ordinarily be migrating out a tiny amount each day is often pushed back further into the ear canal.
Often (not always) it can’t escape the ear canal and builds up over time. This can stop the hearing aid working effectively or at all. It can also make the hearing aid prone to feedback (whistling) which can be pretty embarrassing.
How do I address my blocked ears?
So…. you have an excess of ear wax and other debris in your ear canal, it is causing you issues. Where do you go, how do you fix it?
The first thing most think of is – their local doctors / GP surgery. Like the majority of services provided by your local NHS surgery, the service of ear wax removal is free at the point of supply – to you. There is obviously a cost to the NHS to be able to supply the service. For the patient there is no cost. Some GP surgeries are reluctant to provide the service and some don’t supply the service at all. The cost of providing wax removal is borne locally, by the surgery itself.
NHS provision for ear wax removal
Typically, you would make an appointment with your local GP surgery and be seen by the practice nurse. They would check to see if you need your ear canals clearing. If so instruct you to put olive oil into your ear canals day and night for perhaps a week. Sometimes less than that and sometimes more. Then to call back in at a predetermined time and date for ear irrigation. That is, a machine that sends a stream of water into the ear canal to dislodge the wax / debris.
If that does not work the first time you would typically be asked to put more oil in for another week and then repeat the process. If there is still a problem they may then refer you to the local NHS audiology department.
Why might I decide not to go down the NHS route for ear wax removal as it is free?
It can feel like a long time and a lot of faff before you get back to clear ears. Putting olive oil into your ear canals for an extended time is tiresome and a little unpleasant for some. For hearing aid wearers it is additionally difficult. As well as having to cope with the hearing loss present the hearing aid can become blocked with runny wax and need to be sent off for repair. Alternatively not wear the hearing aids (and not hear) until the ear canal is clear.
An additional problem that occurs is when your ear canal is nearly or completely blocked. Then you put a lot of olive oil into the ear canal to soften the wax. It quite often blocks up the ear canal even more as the wax softens and moves around.
What is the alternative?
At HAB Hearing we can see you (at a cost) within a day or two typically and very often sort out the issue there and then. We mostly use a procedure called micro suction. This effectively hoovers out the wax / debris directly from the ear canal on the day. No real requirement to put olive oil into the ear canal. (Although we recommend 2-3 days of olive oil is it potentially makes things more comfortable and reduces the chance of having to arrange a second visit)…
We can also use ear irrigation like you would see at the local GP surgery if it is more suitable. (But do this far quicker than via the GP surgery). We can also perform dry removal which involved using an instrument to manually remove wax from the ear canal. We can do any combination of the three! Whatever works best and is for you the fastest, most efficient method!
Hopi Ear Candles
We sometimes get asked about how well Hopi ear candles work, they don’t, they have no benefit at all and can actually be dangerous to your health and well being. We will cover Hopi candles in more depth in a future post.
Where are we based?
Our ear wax removal clinic performing microsuction, ear irrigation and dry removal is based in Silsden. We are 10 minutes from Keighley, Ilkley and Skipton. We are also handily close for ear wax removal to Colne, Burnley, Otley and Bradford. (Less than half an hour away). Further afield, we are less than 3/4 of an hour travelling distance by car for ear wax removal services from Harrogate, Leeds and Halifax. Our base is in West Yorkshire and East Lancashire and parts of North Yorkshire are easily accessible. We have ample parking.
If you REALLY need that wax blockage clearing quickly, efficiently, and safely with state of the art equipment in suitable premises then book yourself in!
For more information including how to book an appointment click this link.
In our next post we will be describing microsuction, ear irrigation and hopi ear candling.