Blocked ears (wax) self-care guideline for patients
Ear wax is a normal build up of dead cells, hair, foreign materials such as dust and natural wax which forms a protective coating on the skin in the ear canal. The quantity of earwax produced varies greatly from person to person.
A doctor or nurse can look in to the ear canal and confirm a plug of ear wax has formed. A plug of earwax is not a serious problem, more a nuisance. You only need to remove earwax if it is causing symptoms such as dulled hearing or when fitting a hearing aid.
How to remove ear wax:
Note: If you think you have ear wax, do not try to clean the ear canal with cotton wool buds. This can make things worse, as you will push some earwax deeper inside. It may also cause an ear infection.
Ear drops alone will clear a plug of ear wax in most cases. Put 2/3 drops of ordinary olive oil down the ear 2/3 times a day for 2/3 weeks. This softens the wax so that it then runs out of its own accord without harming the ear. You can continue for any length of time, but 3 weeks is usually enough. Surprisingly, you will not necessarily see wax come out. It often seems to come out unnoticed.
If you are prone to repeated wax build up you can continue to use olive oil drops twice a week to prevent recurrence.
If olive oil does not work you can buy sodium bicarbonate drops from pharmacies.
How to use ear drops:
- Warm the drops to room temperature before using them
- Pour a few drops into the affected ear
- Lie with the affected ear uppermost when putting in drops
- Stay like this for 10 minutes to allow the drops to soak into the ear wax
Bulb syringing is a safe, alternate way to remove ear wax.
Bulb syringes can be easily purchased from a pharmacy and allow you to clear your ears from wax in your own home.
If your ears are painful or have fluid coming out of them, or If you have a hole in the ear drum (perforation) or have recently had surgery on your ear you should see a doctor or nurse and don't use this method.
Instructions for Bulb Syringing:
Use olive oil drops twice a day for at least 14 days prior to bulb syringing. Or alternatively use sodium bicarbonate ear drops purchased from your pharmacy (please read the manufacturers leaflet).
- Wash your hands.
- Use a bowl of cooled water that is warm to the touch, not to hot or too cold
- Prepare the syringe by squirting water in and out of it a few times
- Gently pull your upper ear 'up and out' to help straighten out the canal, which will allow better access for the water
- Tilt your head so the ear to be treated is upmost
- Place the tip of the syringe into the opening
- Allow the water to remain in your ear for at least 60 seconds. Gently tilt your head in the opposite direction and wiggle your outer ear
If, after 3 weeks or more, you are still deaf from wax, you will need to make an appointment with a doctor to nurse to decide what should be done.
Ear irrigation (ear syringing):
Ear irrigation is only recommended in the rare occasions where ear drops and bulb syringing has failed to work. Ear syringing can lead to ear infections, perforated ear drum and tinnitus (persistent noise) and therefore it is only performed in exceptional circumstances. If you think you are having persisting wax despite taking the above measures please make an appointment with your doctor to nurse to discuss.
Please click HERE for access to the Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group Video Library for a wealth of information regarding diabetes.
Social prescribing involves helping patients to improve their health, wellbeing and social welfare by connecting them to services within their community. Please follow the link below to see what we have on offer in Cornwall. We have a Social Prescriber working at the Practice - Lorraine.
The Lander Medical Practice works with the Chaos Group Cornwall to support people who want to make a change for the better. To access this service you need to be aged over 18 and registered with either the Lander Medical Practice or 3Spires Surgery.
Mental Health Resources
Young people (and parents)
www.savvykernow.org.uk – local
www.youngpeoplecornwall.org - local
www.youngminds.org.uk - national
www.kooth.com – online counselling
www.lgbtqyouthcornwall.co.uk - LGBT
Drugs and Alcohol
– and YZUP for young people
www.outlooksw.co.uk – self-referral
www.cruse.org.uk – bereavement support
Samaritans Tel: 116 123 (24h free from any phone) www.samaritans.org
Community Mental Health Team Tel: 08452077711 (08:30-18:30)
www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/resources/consumers.cfm - free resources
www.livinglifetothefull.com – books to buy including the ‘Overcoming’ seres
Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training: ASIST
ASIST provides Suicide First Aid skills to anyone who may come into contact with a person at risk. It gives an introduction to the most widely used Suicide Intervention Model in the world, a model which is applicable in all situations requiring help.
ASIST training was brought into Cornwall and Isles of Scilly in 2009 as part of a wider strategy to prevent suicides, and in response to requests for training in how to assess risk and how to talk about suicide
SELF CARE Help
Outlook psychological therapy services are for people aged 16 and above in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
If you are registered with a GP practice in Cornwall, you can access our NHS-funded therapies for mild-to-moderate anxiety and depression.
To register for help with difficulties such as: stress, low mood, worry, anger, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), self-refer using our online registration form by clicking the Oulook logo above.
STRESS BUSTER – Effective ways to control stress
FINDING YOURSELF AGAIN - postnatal support group for mums suffering with low mood. The group sessions are run on a rolling basis. Mothers can either refer themselves to the sessions, or speak to their GP or Health Visitor about a referral. The service is for mothers suffering with mild to moderate postnatal depression with a baby up to the age of two years old. Please telephone 01208 871 905 for more information.
DOING BETTER - Increase positive mood and wellbeing.
- Enablement project—helping those recovering from mental ill health to get more from life
- Vocational workers
Want to give up smoking??
Want to know more about drugs?
Are you a concerned parent or friend?
Would you like to lose weight?
Would you like a healthier lifestyle?
The website includes a range of tools which patients and staff may find helpful to support overweight and obese individuals.
When someone dies?
When someone dies, you will need to inform a number of people and organisations and complete certain documents needed by law. Click on the photo above to be redirected to the Council website for further information.
Suicide Bereavement Support Group
Updated April 2018