How to remove earwax?

Posted on April 20, 2023 by John Beharrell
Feeling of fullness or muffled sounds, can be a sign of earwax build-up blocking the ear canal

Our body naturally produces earwax – an important oil that flushes your ear canals of hair, dead skin cells and dirt, but if overproduced, it can contribute to blockages and infection.  

If excess ear wax hardens over time, it can cause issues such as reduced hearing, infections, pain, and tinnitus – a buzzing or ringing sound in your ear.

Removing ear wax build-ups contributes to the healthy functioning of your ears. So, how do you remove earwax safely?

What ear wax removal treatments can you try?

There are several ways to remove ear wax build-ups that fall into two categories – at-home earwax removal, and professional earwax removal.

You’ll notice, we don’t include cotton buds on our list and highly advise avoiding using them. Pushing cotton buds into your ear can force the hardened wax down your ear canal and disrupt the eardrum. Instead, try other at-home earwax removal procedures, which can be very effective and much less harmful.

 At-home earwax removal procedures

There are two at-home treatments available from the chemist: ear wax removal drops and ear bulb syringing.

Ear wax removal drops

This non-intrusive method uses a solution that’s squeezed down your ear to break down hardened wax.  We advise speaking to your local pharmacist about which drops are most suitable for you.

To use eardrops, tilt your head sideways and carefully pull the tops of your ears up. Hold the dropper end over the opening of your ear and release the recommended number of drops.

Typically, 2-3 eardrops are administered down the ear canal 3-4 times daily, with positive effects such as increased hearing usually showing between 3-5 days.

There are occasions when eardrops are not suitable, these include:  

  • If you have an ear infection or ear discharge
  • If you have had past complications with ear drops or previous ear operations.

 Instead, you should contact your GP for an alternative treatment.

Ear bulb syringing

This treatment involves releasing warm water into the ear canal using a rubber syringe bulb to clean it. However, you must have applied ear drops for 2-3 weeks before you can use the ear bulb syringe otherwise the wax won’t have softened enough.

To apply the water, turn your head and hold the bulb nozzle inside the ear whilst gently squeezing the bulb and releasing the water. Leave the water inside the ear for three minutes and tilt your head to release it into a sink or bowl.

It is important that you don’t use ear bulb syringing if you have damaged ear drums. This is because it could lead to infection. 

Professional ear wax removal treatments

Ear wax removal procedures performed by a professional are the quickest and most effective way to remove wax build-ups.


Syringing is a specialist version of ear bulb syringing with faster, better results.

The procedure will start with an ear-cleaning specialist inspecting your ear for infections. Afterwards, a saline-water solution is gently pumped into the ear using a syringe or electric pump.

Like with ear bulb syringing, to completely soften the wax, we recommend using ear drops 2-3 times daily for two weeks afterwards.


Microsuction is the most effective ear wax removal treatment available. An experienced ear care specialist will perform your microsuction treatment, offering painless and instant results.

This procedure uses a finely tuned suction tube to gently suck the wax from your ear, removing it and resolving any issues quickly and easily.

Although microsuction is available on the NHS, the waiting lists are very long. To avoid waiting and to relieve painful symptoms sooner, going private and booking an appointment with an experienced professional is your best option.

Which earwax removal treatment is best?

Due to its instant results and quick and safe procedure, microsuction is the best treatment available. Not only is it effective, but it offers long-term relief, doesn’t require ear drops and is incredibly affordable.

At Interhearing, we always recommend professional treatments performed with specialist equipment by a qualified ear care expert. Professional treatments have a low risk of infection and are safe for those with existing eardrum problems.

Book professional ear wax removal with Interhearing

At Interhearing, we are an established and experienced hearing clinic specialising in microsuction ear wax removal and have helped over 19,000 patients using the safest professional treatments available.

To book an appointment with one of our trained and experienced audiology experts, call Interhearing on 08000 029 503, or fill out our online contact form to get in touch with our friendly Customer Care Team.