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Earwax is produced inside your ears to keep them clean and free of germs. It usually passes out of the ears harmlessly, but sometimes too much can build up and block the ears.
A build-up of earwax is a common problem that can often be treated using eardrops bought from a pharmacy.
If pharmacy treatment doesn't work, contact your GP surgery. They may suggest having your ears washed out.
If these treatments don't help, your GP may refer you to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) department for specialised treatment.
Treatments to remove earwax
There are several different earwax removal treatments available.
The main treatments are:
- eardrops – drops used several times a day for a few days to soften the earwax so that it falls out by itself
- ear irrigation – a quick and painless procedure where an electric pump is used to push water into your ear and wash the earwax out
- microsuction – a quick and painless procedure where a small device is used to suck the earwax out of your ear
- aural toilet – where a thin instrument with a small hoop at one end is used to clean your ear and scrape out the earwax
Not all these treatments are suitable for everyone. Your pharmacist or doctor can let you know what treatments may work for you and they can tell you about any associated risks or side effects.