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Put down the cotton buds – a quick guide to cleaning earwax

Dec 2nd, 2017 by

It’s official: syringing water to clean your ears is not recommended by health professionals. So, what should you do to keep your ears wax-free?

Ears that are blocked with wax should not be syringed. For thousands of years, the syringe has been the ear doctor’s tool of choice (Roman author Celsus wrote about it in De Medicina), but now the health watchdog Nice says a syringe pumping water into the ear is “potentially harmful”. Why?

“You can’t control the pressure; you don’t know how hard it is blasting water into the ear,” says Prof Tony Wright of the UCL Ear Institute. Electronic irrigators, which Nice recommends, allow the otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) to control pressure, but they are still only an update of the syringe. So, here are the dos and don’ts of safe earwax removal.

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