Medical Q&As

Ear wax - need syringing?

I have a persistent problem with my right ear. The canal is quite small and therefore the wax doesn't clear out properly, so I end up with a blocked ear every 6 months or so. The specialist suggested putting olive oil in my ear for a few days every month and I have been doing this. But when I put the oil in this month, my ear blocked up and I have had a constant buzzing in it since and inability to hear properly. Normally I have to get my GP to syringe it a couple of times before it clears, but I don't want to have to do that. Will it clear up if I keep putting the olive oil in every night?

I donít think you have any option for the moment other than having your ear syringed. It would appear from your description that there has been a further accumulation of wax in your right ear, which can only be satisfactorily dealt with by syringing. Putting olive oil in your ear will simply keep the wax soft and stop it from hardening. It will not eliminate the over production of wax in your ears. It is important to appreciate that wax has a protective function within the ears and helps to waterproof and protect the delicate skin lining the external ear canal. It is not a reflection on personal hygiene nor is it a sign of disease. Some of us simply accumulate more wax than others. I would strongly advise that you donít use cotton buds to clean your ears because that simply impacts the wax further thereby blocking the ear canal and causing a temporary deafness. There are over the counter remedies available in the pharmacies that help to soften the wax, which might be more effective than the olive oil you are currently using. I would advise that you use such a product for at least three days before arranging to see your doctor to have the ear syringed.