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Rebecca on BBC Radio Stoke

Dove Hearing audiologist, Rebecca Cross, took to the airwaves to speak to BBC Radio Stoke following American research warning against the use of cotton buds to clear earwax.

Talking to Stuart George on the station’s Drive Time Show, she wasted no time in letting listeners know how ineffective and potentially dangerous using cotton buds can be.

She told the show that putting anything ‘smaller than your elbow’ in to the ear can scratch the ear canal, push wax down in to the ear canal and lead to infection, or the eardrum itself can be damaged – something that can be irreversible.  

“Bearing in mind it (the ear canal) is only about 2.5cm deep, depending on the person, sometimes less, you don’t have to go too far down into the ear before you reach the eardrum,” she explained.

“Ears are self-cleaning. Wax normally migrates out of the ear, so it will naturally and gradually move out to the outer part of the ear and you can just wipe it away with a tissue. Or it washes out in the shower.”

A build up of wax can be due to the shape of a person’s ear or just that an individual produces more wax, but it can cause pain, itching, tinnitus (a ringing in the ears) and hearing loss. While there are many over the counter remedies, drops and even olive oil - which has been traditionally used by some to remove earwax - Rebecca said these may not fully clear a build up.

She recommended a safe and effective treatment for the removal of earwax which is available at all of Dove Hearing Centres’ practices.  

“We use a system called micro suction which is nice and comfortable and there is no water involved,” she said.

Anyone who is concerned they may be suffering problems with their ears and/or hearing, which they think could be due to a build up of earwax, can contact any of Dove Hearing’s practices for further information and treatment.

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