Why GP surgeries have stopped providing ear syringing

In the past, if you were having problems with an earwax build-up or hearing difficulties, you might have been offered ear syringing to fix it. It’s not safe to remove earwax on your own. If you try, there’s a chance that you may end up damaging your ear canal or causing an infection.

In some cases, you may have been offered ear drops to try and loosen your wax to gain some relief. However, ear syringing could have been an alternative option.

Nowadays, ear syringing has been stopped in GP surgeries. Here are the main reasons why this practice is no longer available from your doctor.

What is the problem with ear wax?

Whether you look for the best service for ear wax removal Kent has to offer, or you want to consult a private healthcare provider, it’s important we start off with the basics.

Wax is found in the ear and is used to protect the ear canal from dirt, germs, and any outdoor invader. Unfortunately, ear wax can build up over time and block the ear canal if it does not fall out naturally on its own. If that happens, then a number of symptoms can occur. These include:

  • Loss of hearing
  • Tinnitus
  • Vertigo
  • Earache
  • Fullness of the ear

You can treat ear wax on your own if it is not severe. This can be with olive oil or almond oil. These oils can soften the wax and it will naturally fall out on its own in a few days’ time.

However, if you still suffer from the aforementioned symptoms and the oil does not help, you should seek assistance from a doctor or pharmacist.

What is ear syringing?

When a build-up of ear wax starts to cause hearing loss, it’s crucial to have the ear wax safely removed. To do this, GPs would traditionally offer ear syringing. This was where a large amount of water was injected into the ear canal with the use of a syringe. The water would then be drained from the ear, making it likely that chunks of the ear wax would be drained with it.

This type of treatment could be undertaken a few times to ensure that the wax would not rebuild and cause problems, such as dizziness, tinnitus, ear infections and hearing loss.

Why have GP surgeries stopped providing this service?

A few people would say that ear syringing can be dangerous and potentially damage the ear canal if it is not undertaken correctly.

However, the main reason it was taken away from GP surgeries is due to the fact it was no longer classified as an essential service. Instead, it was reclassified as a specialist service. The only way that GPs can offer this service is if the build-up of earwax causes hearing loss. If that is the case, the GP can offer ear syringing through “audiology services”.

As ear syringing is no longer one of the core services of the NHS, it has been moved to the category of a specialist treatment. Therefore, you will have to make alternative arrangements to have this ear treatment sorted out.

What is the impact of this change?

Right now, there are concerns that the lack of ear syringing may have an adverse impact on those who suffer from hearing damage or who are elderly. Not everyone may have enough money to pay for a private ear syringing treatment. Therefore, they may be forced to live with the hearing damage without being able to seek out help.

There are worries that this treatment may become inaccessible, thereby damaging people who are vulnerable or who may not understand why this change has happened. Additional support may be needed from the NHS to protect those who may struggle with hearing loss in the future, and who may need to be guided to the most appropriate department for their issues.

What other options are available besides ear syringing?

Of course, if you suffer from ear issues, there are still alternatives you can try apart from ear syringing. This includes electronic irrigation and micro-suction. You can also consider ear drops that can soften earwax and make it easier to have it removed.

If you are desperate for ear syringing, then you can still access this treatment from a private surgery. Unfortunately, earwax removal syringing from a private surgery can be expensive, so you may need to look around before you choose the right surgery to help you. The most common price you will find for ear syringing is £80.  

Would you appreciate further advice in relation to your own concerns about the build-up and treatment of earwax? If so, please don’t hesitate to contact the Welling ear wax removal Gravesend Clinic today.

To learn more about the history of ear wax removal, read our blog ‘Historic ear treatments you won’t believe were real‘ to find out more.