How To Remove Ear Wax

Published 13 March 2020  | Updated 16 May 2024  | 4 mins read

An ear doctor removing wax from a patient's ear.

Everyone has probably been guilty of a little DIY ear wax removal now and again, but home-grown techniques can largely do more harm than good. From baby oil to ear candling, we’re here to cut through the myths and advise on how to remove ear wax safely and properly.

What is ear wax, and why should we remove it?

Ear wax, also known as cerumen, is a natural substance that forms in your ear. It protects your ear canal from bacteria, water, and any other external risks. Without ear wax, your ears would be dry and vulnerable to infection. So, if ear wax is so important to the overall health of your ears, why would you want to remove wax from the ear? As always, you can have too much of a good thing! Occasionally, your ears can produce too much ear wax. There are a few triggers that could cause this, such as prolonged use of headphones, or extensive self-cleaning of the ears, which can cause excess build-up. Too much wax in your ears can cause symptoms including dizziness, tinnitus and earache – not to mention its impact on your hearing.

This is why you need to know how to clean ear wax from your ears.

You can find out more about what causes ear wax on our blog, here are our instructions on the best ways to remove it!

How to remove ear wax

When faced with this problem, many people use DIY methods after looking up how to clean wax out of ears online, but these aren’t always the most effective or safest solutions. One of the most common home-methods is inserting cotton buds into the ear. However, this typically pushes the wax deeper into the ear canal, and you can also run the risk of puncturing your eardrum. Other DIY methods for how to unblock ear wax include inserting oils, waxes and even hydrogen peroxide into the ear, which is not advisable. The inside of your ear is an incredibly complex, delicate system, and we do not recommend inserting anything into your ears yourself. This can worsen the original blockage, and possibly do more harm than good to the overall health of your ears.

Three safe and pain-free ways an audiologist may remove ear wax

There are three pain-free methods to remove wax from the ear, depending on how severe the build-up is and on the overall health of your ears.

1. Manual removal

Using a long thin tool known as a ‘Jobson Horn’, this method is used to remove small amounts of ear wax from near the entrance of the ear canal. An audiologist can see into your ear much better than you can, so can safely clean the inside of them.


2. Microsuction

Microsuction is exactly how it sounds: a tiny machine which vacuums up any excess ear wax. This is the cleanest and safest way on how to clean ear wax from moderately blocked ears.


3. Water irrigation

For larger quantities of ear wax, audiologists will use water irrigation to clear your ear canal of wax and debris. Water is warmed to body temperature, before being carefully directed into your ear canal with a low-pressure irrigation machine.


The best ear wax removal method for you will vary depending on the severity of your wax build-up. Let DIY wax removal be a thing of the past and put the health of your hearing first.

Our audiologists at THCP are fully qualified on how to get wax out of ears safely and can assess the best method for you during your appointment. A wax removal appointment with The Hearing Care Partnership is subject to a flat fee of £70, regardless of the method used.

Book online, over the phone on 0800 52 00 546 or pop in to your local THCP practice today.