How Much Does Ear Wax Removal Cost?

Posted on April 24, 2024 by John Beharrell
Ear Inspection

Why do we have ear wax?

Earwax, though sometimes bothersome, is actually your ear’s built-in defence system which traps dust, dirt and other debris, helping to keep your ears healthy. But like anything, too much of a good thing can cause problems and excessive ear wax build up can result in a number of unwanted or unpleasant side effects such as hearing loss, ear ache, itchy ears and even infection.

How much does ear wax removal cost?

Although some GP surgeries and hospitals still offer ear wax removal, in most cases, this service is no longer routinely available through the NHS. 

The cost of ear wax removal can vary depending on your location, the treatment method and the specialist you visit. Ear wax removal typically ranges from around £40 (for one ear) to £105 (for both ears) in the UK and there is a variety in what to expect for your money, as some clinics offer syringing and others microsuction; some providers charge per ear, while others charge a flat fee for both.

There could also be additional fees for consultations or follow-up appointments, so it’s always best to  check with the specific clinic you plan to visit to get an exact pricing and find out what is included in the cost. 

Some of the key factors which affect ear wax removal costs are:

The Provider: The type of healthcare professional you see can significantly impact the price, due to specialised training, experience and expertise. For example, you could  pay up to £350 for a consultation and ear wax removal with an ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) specialist. 

Audiologist, Ear Care Specialists and Nurses are also highly qualified but generally less expensive and costs typically range from £65 to £150.

Other providers trained in ear wax removal can also offer this treatment and costs can vary but are generally between £40 (for one ear) and £100 (for both ears).

The Location: Clinics in major cities or prime locations often have higher overhead costs which could be reflected in their pricing compared to those in rural areas. 

Experience and Reputation: Clinics with established reputations and highly skilled practitioners may charge more for their expertise, but this is not always the case,  so it’s good to do some research online to find out what patients have to say about a specific clinic – a quick Google or Trustpilot search is a good place to start and will give you an idea regarding the expertise and professionalism of the service you are interested in. You can also contact the clinic directly to find out more and look for clinics linked with trusted organisations such as GP surgeries and those which are registered with recognised professional bodies such as the HCPC (The Health and Care Professions Council).

At the present time, ear wax removal can be carried out by providers with little  training and experience, so looking for a clinic that is well established and experienced in safe, professional ear wax removal is always important when finding the balance between cost, experience and expertise.

The Method:

Microsuction is often seen as the preferred and safest method of ear wax removal due to the reduced risk of infection and usually costs between £60 and £105 in the UK (although some clinics will also charge for follow up appointments or price their service per ear).

Microsuction uses a dry suction technique, eliminating the introduction of water into the ear canal. Water can potentially disrupt the natural earwax balance and create a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to infection.

The procedure relies on magnification via special glasses (called loupes) or a microscope and the use of fine, specialised medical tools. This allows for precise wax removal with minimal contact with the delicate ear canal skin and eardrum, reducing the risk of irritation or accidental damage.

Unlike syringing, which isn’t recommended for perforated eardrums or recent ear infections, microsuction can be safely used in these cases and while some may find the suction sound a little noisy, microsuction is generally considered a more comfortable procedure compared to other methods. 

Microsuction treatment is typically slightly more expensive than other methods,  but ear wax is usually removed effectively in a single appointment. 

Irrigation (syringing): This more traditional  method is now less common, due to potential risks and might be offered at a lower cost,  but could also require multiple sessions. Syringing typically costs between £40 (for one ear) and £100 (for both ears) in the UK.

Ear Drops:

Ear drops are another traditional method of ear wax removal (for mild ear wax blockages) and are readily available over-the-counter.  Cost varies depending on the brand, type, and quantity but typically range from £4 to £10 in the UK.

Brand-name ear drops often cost more than generic alternatives with similar ingredients and specialised ear drops, for specific purposes like pain relief or infection control, might be more expensive than basic softening drops.

Ear drops can be effective for mild ear wax blockages but are not suitable for everyone and may take up to 2 weeks to take effect. If you are considering using ear drops to remove ear wax blockage, it is always best to speak to your doctor first as they can help you determine if ear drops are the right treatment for you and can advise you on which type of ear drops to use. Ear drops are not usually effective for compacted or excessive ear wax build-up. 

Also learn: How do ear drops work?

Additional Costs and Considerations: It is not uncommon for clinics to offer consultations, follow-up appointments or  hearing tests at an extra cost, so it is useful to keep this in mind. Some clinics however do offer wax removal follow-up appointments for free, so it is always a good idea to ask before you book and find out more so that you are aware of any extra costs that might be involved with your treatment.  If you find that your hearing still feels muffled following ear wax removal, then a hearing test might be a good idea. 

Remember, the cheapest or most expensive options aren’t always the best. It’s important to prioritise finding a qualified healthcare professional who can safely and effectively remove your ear wax and look after your hearing health. 

Why do we need to pay for ear wax removal?

Ear wax removal used to be offered for free by the National Health Service (NHS) and whilst this is still the case in some areas, although it is now generally the exception rather than the rule and there is often a very long wait for this service if it is available.  In recent years, ear syringing, a common removal method has also become less favoured due to potential risks and funding priorities have shifted, with ear wax removal often not considered as essential.

Tips on finding cost-effective solutions for ear wax removal:

  • Look into self care options for mild blockages such as ear drops to soften wax and encourage natural removal (it is recommended to always consult your GP before using ear drops to check that they are safe and suitable for your use).
  • Exploring NHS options (UK) – Contact your local GP surgery to discuss your symptoms. In some cases, the NHS might still cover ear syringing or microsuction.
  • Find affordable private options by comparing costs: Research clinics or healthcare providers offering ear wax removal and compare their prices. Online searches and local listings can help you find options in your area. Don’t forget to shop around and prioritise expertise and experience when looking for safe options for ear wax removal. 
  • Consider microsuction: This safe and effective method can be slightly more expensive than syringing but usually takes only one appointment and might be covered partially by any private health insurance you might have.
  • Look for discounts: Some clinics might offer discounts, for example, they may be listed with Blue Light Card or have a loyalty card scheme for those who need ear wax removal more regularly. 

In Summary

Overall, the cost for ear wax removal can vary considerably depending on the provider, the location and the expertise and reputation of the clinic. Irrigation (syringing) is usually a cheaper option but may not be suitable for everyone due to the higher risk of infection compared to other methods such as microsuction and may take a number of appointments to effectively clear wax.

Whilst some ear wax removal services are still accessible via the NHS, this is not always the case, so finding a reputable private provider is often the best solution. 

Finding the right clinic is important, as is finding the right balance between cost, experience and expertise. Research clinics online before booking, reading patient reviews via Google or Trustpilot and enquiring about a provider’s professional registration, such as the HCPC or finding a clinic associated with a trusted organisation such as a local GP surgery or health centre.  Remember, the cheapest or most expensive options aren’t always the best, so try to prioritise finding a qualified healthcare professional who can safely and effectively remove your ear wax and look after your hearing health.

Microsuction is viewed as the safest and most effective method of ear wax removal and usually costs between £60 and £105. Some clinics charge per ear whereas others charge for both ears, and there are sometimes additional costs for follow-up appointments or consultations, so it is good to find out about any extra costs before you book your appointment and don’t be shy to find out about any discounts or loyalty card schemes which might be available.