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Ear Drops

Do I need to use ear drops before ear wax removal?

Ear drops are not generally required prior to ear wax removal.

Ear drops have historically been recommended to aid ear syringing – but due to the more modern use of micro-suction we can generally remove ear wax without the need for ear drops. However, we do not mind if you choose to use them, and sometimes it may be necessary to send you away to use them if your ear wax is compacted.

Should I use ear drops ongoing?

It is not recommended to keep using ear drops as it interferes with the natural cleansing process of the ear – called ‘epithelial migration’.

For very dry ears NHS guidelines advise that you can use a few drops of olive oil every 2 or 3 weeks just to assist the process of skin migration (epithelial migration) from the ear drum outwards.

Note – this table is for guidance only – you should consult your GP if you are experiencing ongoing difficulties, or discuss with a chemist to see what would be most appropriate for your own needs.

Please read the instructions of each ear-drop product before use – especially if you are pregnant, have allergies, have grommets or a perforated ear drum, have dry skin or ongoing skin problems / irritation, have had a recent infection, or wish to avoid alcohol usage.

The website links shown are example websites only.

Ear DropsContainsCommentsLink
1. Otex
2. Otex Express
1. Urea hydrogen peroxide 5%
2. Urea hydrogen peroxide
8-hydroxyquinoline and glycerol
Is especially good for breaking down hard compacted ear wax.
May fizz in the ear and may make you more blocked until the wax can be removed.
Otex is bought at pharmacies / Otex Express is likely weaker and can be bought at many other standard retail outlets.
EarexGlycerol BP
Urea Hydrogen Peroxide 5%
For softening ear wax – similar to above.Website
Olive Oil - by OtexEP medicinal grade virgin olive oil.Is good for softening ear wax but is not as effective
as Otex for penetrating very hard compacted ear wax.
Olive oil may well be better for those who have dry skin
problems. As an alternative to buying expensive small bottles
dedicated to ear wax you could buy a pipette from
the chemist for about £1 and use your standard virgin olive oil.
See also Earol below.
Bi-Carbonate of SodaSodium Bicarbonate BP 5% w/v.
Glycerol (E422)
Purified Water
Dichlorobenzyl Alcohol
We prefer patients to use Otex for very hard ear wax.
Bi-carbs contains alcohol which is not good for dry ears.
EarolOlive OilEarol is just a trade name for an olive oil product.

See olive oil above.

EarcalmAcetic Acid (Glacial)Used for minor ear infections & ear irritations.Website
EargeneCompound Mycia Spirit
Alcohol 17%
Claims to soothe itching ears - some reviews support this.
Is expensive for the simple ingredients it contains.
Miracell CalmEarAll-natural botanical solutionA natural solution giving relief for dry itchy ears.Website

Tea Tree OilEssential oils from tea tree leavesTee tree oil has antibacterial properties
and can help fight infections / fungal infections –
but in high concentrations can cause damage
to the inner ear and burning of skin.

EP grade olive oil means virgin olive oil which meets a special quality standard intended for medicinal use. It apparently has a low moisture content to ensure the product remains suitable for its shelf-life.