22 Mar 2024

The horrors of alternative methods of wax removal compared to microsuction

It was announced recently that the NHS are removing funding for ear wax removal, which means that having it removed privately is the only safe way to address the issue.


Written by Steven Hale

It is without doubt the only safe clinical and effective means of removing ear wax in order to improve your quality of hearing.

However, if you are really not concerned about the risk of permanently damaging or losing your hearing, you could plump for a DIY method of ear wax removal.

Let’s look at some of them.


Cotton buds

These are magnificently long and stiff, mass produced (somewhere) intrusive probes capable of being pushed into orifices to an unknown depth, at an unquantifiable force, in a potentially unsanitary environment, by a user who will likely have no clear view of their ear passage.

Further, as a fear of pain and the unknown may be present on the part of the “patient”, they may enlist the help of a “friend” to administer the “procedure”.

This will bring great inertia as the totally unqualified “friend” may even need a couple of drinks to get up the courage to penetrate your ear canal with a plastic tool. Also, the classic cotton bud has no ‘hook’ or means of actually extracting the compacted wax, so this may allow for some moments of deep searching, digging, gouging and scraping of the ear canal – maybe even as deep as the ear drum – which will create a fabulous ‘game’ for some.

A final ‘bonus’ about the use of cotton buds to remove ear wax is their – almost – unique ability to leave debris in the orifice itself. I say ‘almost’ here, because most non-medical, daily items will be able to shed detritus too.

In closing, for those who like to spend hours on the phone to their local GP surgery or love a lengthy wait in A and E departments across the land, this is an excellent option.


Internet DIY kits

Ooooh, now this opens up a whole new world!

According to Amazon, you can experiment with a whole cornucopia of products designed to remove ear wax. They range from totally unbranded tools to……oh no, wait a moment, none of them are from a recognisable audiological company.

So, if you love a gamble and are especially drawn to the prospect of not knowing the origin, composition, efficacy, safety or sterility of your purchase, this is for you.


Olive oil

This almost ancient method of drizzling olive oil into your ear canal offers fewer options for permanent damage, as it’s almost organic, but is excellent for creating a social buzz around why you are walking around with cotton wool (think detritus once again) jammed into your ear for a few days. Also excellent for ruining bedding – pillows in particular.



Whilst we have indeed moved away from the “fire hazard hair” that graced the 1980’s courtesy of hairspray, mousse and many other toxic products, there are still some aspects of burn damage possible with this product – both to the user, and their surroundings in general.


Pop-up “clinics”

Another great option for the gamblers. Research shows that you can become “qualified” to remove ear wax by virtue of a short two-day course, many of whom don’t disclose their costs, but some seem to start from around one thousand pounds. Of course, they won’t be qualified to spot any other diseases, illnesses or ailments that affect your hearing, or even offer a sanitised clinical environment for procedures. Again, none of them are sanctioned by accredited audiological companies, so you really will be able to roll the dice by using one of these.


In summary

Although this may seem like a light-hearted post, it’s message is most deadly serious.


Don't do it

Your ear is an open portal to your brain, which is surrounded by a sack of synovial fluid, whose purpose is to protect your life essential organ from damage. Why would anyone risk permanently damaging it?

Yes, there is a cost involved with the services of a private audiologist, but it’s not monthly. It’s not a subscription. It’s an annual or biannual expense that will enhance your quality of life.

Our message is clear. Go to a professional audiologist.

Don't do anything else.