Old Station Surgery

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Ear Irrigation

Caring For Your Ears

Some “Hints and Tips”

Wax is normal – it provides protection for your ears.

Your ears should be self-cleaning. If you use COTTON BUDS to try and remove the wax, it will only be pushed further down the ear canal and block your ear.

If you have repeated problems with wax blocking your ears, using olive oil drops regularly may prevent this.

Your ears should only be cleaned by a Nurse or Health Care Support Worker trained in ear care as she is able to see into your ear canals.

If you have ear problems such as dry skin, eczema, dermatitis, ‘runny ears’, you will find that keeping your ears dry will improve the condition. The easiest way to keep your ears dry when bathing or showering is by using ear plugs or a piece of cotton wool smeared with Vaseline.

It is advisable not to leave cotton wool in your ear unless advised to by your ear care nurse.

If you have problems with your ears, don’t ignore them. Make an appointment to see your practice nurse. If you ignore the problem it can make it more difficult to treat.


Ear Irrigation (Syringing)

 Before ear irrigation can take place a nurse or GP will need to have performed an assessment and examined your ears and recommended this procedure.

Ear irrigation can be uncomfortable, but should not be painful.  Lukewarm water is squirted into the ear canal and this dislodges the plug of wax. Some people feel dizzy and should sit down for a while after the procedure. Rarely, ear irrigation can cause serious damage to the eardrum. Ear irrigation may not be advised if you have certain ear problems, in particular:

  • Previous ear surgery
  • Previous recurrent ear infections
  • Perforated ear drum
  • You are deaf in your other ear

To help this procedure you are asked to do the following.

  • Olive Oil drops should be instilled 2 to 3 times a day for a minimum of one week. This will help to soften the wax and can make the procedure more successful. On some occasionsthe Olive Oil may support the expulsion of ear wax on its own without the need for ear irrigation.

How to Apply Ear Drops

The olive oil should be at room temperature.

  1. Lie on your side with the affected ear uppermost.
  2. Pull the top of the pinna (outer ear) gently backwards and upwards, to straighten the ear canal.
  3. Drop 2 or 3 drops of oil into the ear canal and massage just in front of the ear, gently.
  4. Remain lying down for 5-10 minutes with the affected ear uppermost and then wipe away the excess oil. Do not put cotton wool in the ear, as this will absorb the oil.
  5. Repeat the procedure to the opposite ear if necessary.