Skip to content

Impacted earwax: symptoms and treatments

Impacted ear wax is something you go your whole life not thinking about. Until you get it. Then it’s ALL you can think about.

It isn’t always painful or uncomfortable, but it can be extremely annoying.


There are several signs and symptoms of impacted ear wax:

  1. Reduced hearing – it often happens without warning. You may have gone swimming, had a bath or it may have happened out of the blue. Voices may sound muffled and indistinct. Weirdly, you can often hear your own voice, footsteps and chewing louder than normal.
  2. Blocked or full feeling – this can make you feel disorientated. It’s like having your fingers permanently in your ears, which can affect your concentration and ability to communicate.
  3. Discomfort – This doesn’t always occur but when it does earache can be quite unpleasant. It usually occurs as a result of someone trying to remove the wax themselves at home. Items such as cotton buds and hairpins often worsen the situation rather than improve it. There’s an old saying in our industry, “If it’s smaller than your elbow, don’t stick it in your ear.”

If you have one or more of the symptoms above, you could have ear wax. It may also be something more serious so do not hesitate to get a medical examination.


There are several ways that you can get your ear wax professionally removed:

  1. Microsuction
  2. Irrigation
  3. Manual instruments

If you book in with us, the clinician will discuss the pros and cons of each method and will make a recommendation based on your personal preferences, medical history and texture of the wax. With other providers you may not get the choice as they limit themselves to only one method.


Microsuction is a tiny vacuum cleaner for the ears. When performed by an appropriately trained health professional, it is a very safe procedure.

Irrigation (Ear Syringing)

Irrigation is the use of a gentle flow of water to flush the wax from the ears. It is the modern form of ear syringing. There are myths that irrigation is the old school method of removing wax and that it is outdated which just isn’t true. Irrigation is particularly useful for very soft wax, or wax that is situated deep in the ear canal.

Manual Instruments

Manual instruments are little tools the clinician can use to remove the ear wax. Common tools include a curette, or forceps (pinchers) which can grab hold of hardened wax. The benefit of manual tools is that there is no noise which is useful if you need the wax out just before a hearing test.

Not sure if you have ear wax?

If you aren’t sure if you need to have your ear wax, you can book in for an ear health check. Call us today on 01233 556 154 or email

Book now

Please fill out the form and we’ll get in touch with you.

Did we also mention our clinic is right opposite the beach?

Contact us