Your ears are in good hands: Clinical ear expert shares some sound advice

Over recent years we at the House of Hearing have witnessed a sharp rise in the number of people suffering from a build up of cerumen – or earwax – being referred to us by the NHS.

That is why we have sought a higher standard for our existing earwax removal service in Edinburgh by becoming the first private wax removal clinic in Scotland to be registered and regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS), the regulator for the independent healthcare industry.

Registration provides clear benefits for local healthcare professionals and customers, as it demonstrates that House of Hearing is committed to the highest professional standards of safety and quality of care, staffing, management and ongoing improvement.

Although everyone produces earwax, which is vital to the health of the ear, it can lead to various problems if it doesn’t leave the ear canal naturally.

According to the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, some 2.3 million people a year require intervention to provide relief from a build-up of earwax.

The most common symptom is a blocked sensation and – if left untreated – the problem can cause serious discomfort, itchiness, diminished hearing and possibly infection.

In a world where constant communication is key to the smooth running of our daily lives, even a small shift in someone’s ability to hear will cause feelings of frustration and isolation, whether that be at home, work or in social environments.

One key factor driving the issue is Scotland’s ageing population. Although present in all age groups, earwax is a particular issue among the elderly, and so careful examinations should be carried out by a qualified professional regularly.

Those who wear hearing aids are also more vulnerable to a wax build up – and as technology is now more accessible than ever, we are seeing more and more younger patients suffering from the issue.

In-ear headphones trap sweat and debris inside the ear canal and can push wax further in, causing potential damage to the ear as well as discomfort.

Reports have shown that the younger generation is also becoming more health conscious, and while an increase in exercise and fitness is undoubtedly a good thing, sweat can lead to problems with earwax.

Our removal process is straightforward and all our clinics – in Edinburgh, Galashiels, Perth and St Andrews, and in Morpeth, Northumberland – offer wax removal by microsuction, irrigation and instrumentation. Patients do not need to be referred by a GP to access the service.

Anyone suffering with a blockage in their ears as a result of wax or other debris will tell you it is a problem that needs to be resolved quickly and effectively so they can get on with their lives.

And anyone who comes to House of Hearing can rely on the medical knowledge provided by our unique ENT nurse-led team, who have previously identified an infection in a patient who was referred to our wax removal service by their GP.

At House of Hearing ongoing improvement is vital and we continue to invest in assessments and treatments that can help people with any hearing issues, without having to wait.

If you would like to book an appointment with one of our senior audiologists, call 0131 639 0216, or visit

Melanie Jackson is House of Hearing’s ENT nurse practitioner and head of clinical ear care