Earwax: Medical Treatments

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 28 March 2023.

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Photo of Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Conservative

To ask His Majesty's Government why ear syringing is now only provided by a private sector provider in some areas, and not by the NHS.

Photo of Lord Markham Lord Markham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Integrated care boards are responsible for commissioning services on the National Health Service in line with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance. This includes provision of recommended ear wax removal services for patients with a clinical need for ear wax removal.

In June 2018, NICE updated its guidance Hearing loss in adults: assessment and management so that it no longer recommends manual ear wax syringing. This update of the guidance was due to risks associated with the treatment such as trauma to the ear drum or infection. Instead, the guidance suggests alternative arrangements, such as ear irrigation using an electronic irrigator, micro suction, or another method of earwax removal such as manual removal using a probe.

A copy of the guidance is attached.

Hearing loss in adults: assessment and management (pdf, 145.2KB)

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