Too much ear wax can be a problem – your ears feel blocked and sounds are muffled – what can you do to keep it at bay?

Ear wax and skin debris are produced naturally by the outer part of the ear canal and is pushed out of the ear by the action of chewing and the hairs of the ear canal pointing outwards –  the wax “conveyor belt”.

Ear wax is good for your ears because it traps dirt and dead skin and moves it out of the ear, lubricates the ear canal to prevent the skin from drying out and the acidity of ear wax gives it anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Nevertheless, if you have too much wax in your ears it is irritating and makes you feel slightly deaf.


How to get rid of too much ear wax

I recommend Sodium Bicarbonate ear drops (with a dropper), which can be bought without prescription.

They should not be used with an active ear infection, when there is a hole in the ear drum or when using a hearing aid.

Use Sodium Bicarbonate ear drops, 3-4 drops twice a day for 5 days.

How to use Sodium Bicarbonate drops

1. Lie down on your side with the ear requiring drops facing upwards

2. Pull the outer ear backwards and upwards (just backwards in children)

3. Drop 3-4 drops into the ear canal and then massage the skin just in front of the entrance to the ear canal to enable the drops to run down the ear canal more easily

4. Stay lying down for 5-10 minutes and then get up and wipe away any excess fluid with a tissue

5. DO NOT put cotton wool in the ear following the drops as this absorbs the fluid and prevents the wax coming out.

6. Repeat the procedure with the opposite ear if required.

7. Use Sodium Bicarbonate ear drops, 3-4 drops twice a day for 5 days for each affected ear.


How to keep ear wax at bay:

Regularly clean the outer ear with a damp cloth, do not use earbuds as this pushes the wax deep into the ear canal where the natural “conveyor belt” does not work. To keep wax at bay – Sodium Bicarbonate ear drops 3-4 drops twice a day for 5 days every 2 months.


What if this does not work

Make an appointment for wax removal at your local GP where trained doctors and nurses can remove the wax for you. The main technique uses is an electronic ear irrigation system, in which a tube is placed into outer part of the ear canal and a electric motor irrigates water, at body temperature, into the ear under low pressure to soften and irrigate out the ear wax. If this does not work then an ENT specialist can remove the wax using a technique used called “microsuction” where very small suction tube, using a microscope, is placed into the ear canal and the wax is “hoovered” out.