In-ear devices warning following increase in ear wax


AUDIOLOGISTS are encouraging people to limit their use of in-ear headphones and other in-ear devices following a significant rise in cases of impacted ear wax.

Specsavers has seen an almost 700% increase in the number of people coming in for earwax removal since services resumed at the beginning of May – many of them suffering with painful ears and struggling to hear properly.

Gordon Harrison, Specsavers chief audiologist, says: ‘While it is natural to have wax in our ears, regularly putting objects such as earphones in them – particularly for prolonged periods of time during video calls for example – can cause wax to become impacted. This can lead to hearing loss and discomfort, as well as infection or even a perforated ear drum.’

The advice from Specsavers is to avoid putting anything in your ears that could push earwax further into your ear canal and to avoid home removal of wax. Research by Specsavers audiologists shows that two thirds of the nation (65%) are risking permanent damage to their hearing by using cotton buds and other items such as their fingers, pencils, paper clips, hairgrips and even match sticks to remove wax.

The best way to remove wax is to seek professional help. ‘Ear wax does usually fall out on its own,’ advises Mr Harrison. ‘If it doesn’t and causes a persistent blockage, it’s best to seek professional advice. Ear drops or olive oil can help to soften the wax but this is generally carried out for three to five days before a wax removal appointment as these drops can cause the earwax to expand, making the blockage worse and potentially causing further irritation.’

In line with new guidelines, Specsavers audiologists have reintroduced key, lifeline audiology services, including hearing tests, hearing aid fittings and earwax removal. Customers will need to request an appointment online ( or call their local store first for advice and to be assessed on the level of care that they might need.

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