Ear wax removal service
Action for Deafness has temporarily suspended the ear wax removal service due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak.
Please check back to see when the service will reopen.
AFD provides a private ear wax removal service. A procedure known as microsuction is used to clear the ear canals of wax. Microsuction is a safe and more comfortable way of removing ear wax. This service is available at AFD’s Haywards Heath and Worthing base to anyone over the age of 18.
If you present at a Microsuction appointment with ears that are clear of wax and Microsuction is not, therefore, required there will be a charge of £35. If you are unsure if you have wax then you can ask your GP or practice nurse to check your ears or pop into one of our Resource Centres where we can do that for you.
You can find out more about ear wax and microsuction in the FAQ section below. If you have any further queries, please contact AFD.
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22 Sussex Road
|Action for Deafness
2-6 Buckingham Road
FAQs - click on the questions to find the answer
You should, ideally, use oil drops in your ears for 7 days before your treatment. This will help to soften the wax for the procedure. You can use olive oil or Earol (a specialist olive oil spray) which can be purchased from the AFD Resource Centres in Haywards Heath and Worthing or from most pharmacies.
During the procedure ear wax is removed from the ear canal using a suction machine. A small amount of pressure is applied to remove the wax. There is a slight possibility that you might feel dizzy during or after the procedure.
No aftercare is required for microsuction. If you produce a lot of wax, however, you should use ear drops to help to keep the wax soft thus allowing the ear to discharge the wax form the ear canal naturally.
It is very rare for complications to arise from microsuction. Possible side effects include: dizziness, bleeding, soreness in the ear, perforation of the ear drum and tinnitus.
There are some people for whom microsuction is not recommended:
- People who produce excessive wax beyond the second bend of the ear
- Those with an active perforation within last 12 months
- Those with grommets
- Those who have had ear surgery within then past 18 months and who have not been discharged by ENT
- Those with mucus or an undiagnosed ear perforation
- Those with a cleft palate
- Those with acute otitis externa (middle ear infection) or painful pinnae
- Those with learning difficulties
- Those with an inability to sit still or who can become agitated or confused by loud noises
- Those taking anticoagulant medication
Ear wax is a combination of dead skin, dirt, dust and cerumen. Cerumen is a natural secretion from the glands in the ear that coats the ear canal. As it is produced, it collects dead skin and other foreign material in the ear and moves it down towards the entrance of the ear canal. Over time, small bits of earwax will break off and fall out of the ear. Jaw movements from chewing or talking also help to move ear wax down the ear canal.
Ear wax can be yellow, brown or grey in colour depending on whether you produce wet ear wax or dry ear wax. Whether you have wet or dry ear wax is genetically determined with wet ear wax being the dominant of the two. Those of Caucasian or African descent are more likely to have wet ear wax whereas those of East Asian descent are more likely to have dry ear wax.
The purpose of ear wax is to clean the ear canal and to prevent any foreign objects from causing an infection. Some research has found that ear wax has antimicrobial properties of killing bacteria and fungi in the ear. However, other research argues against this point by finding that ear wax can actually enhance the growth of certain bacteria.
The amount of ear wax produced will vary from person to person. On average it is said that ear wax will migrate at the same rate as fingernail growth - 0.05mm a day. Hearing aids can stimulate secretions from the glands in the ear canal, thereby causing them to produce more ear wax. This is why it is important to clean hearing aid fittings regularly to ensure that no wax is blocking the tubing.
Ear wax moves down the ear canal naturally but there are occasions when a blockage may form. This may cause temporary hearing loss, dizziness or tinnitus. A GP, nurse or audiologist can check your ears for a wax build up.
Ear wax usually moves down the ear canal naturally without intervention. You should not use cotton ear buds to clean your ears as this can push ear wax further into the ear canal. If you find that you repeatedly get a build-up of ear wax it might help to use ear drops to keep the wax soft and moving naturally out of the ear.
Ear drops can be used to help remove excess ear wax. Olive oil, almond oil, sodium bicarbonate or sodium chloride ear drops are all effective and are available to purchase at pharmacies. “Earol” drops can be purchased from AFD Resource Centres or from most pharmacies. If ear drops do not prove to be effective then you will need to have the ear wax removed by a clinician.