Hopi, or not hopi?... Why shouldn’t my beautician or barber remove my ear wax with ear candling, or anything else?
When the ear wax, which naturally protects our ears from bacteria and dust or dirt, builds up and becomes excessive, for some people, this can block their ears causing discomfort, dulled hearing, ringing sounds, and even a feeling of unsteadiness.
This is all very unpleasant, and anyone suffering this will clearly want quick relief. So, where do you go for help?
We used to book in to see the nurse at the local GP where they would use water to wash the wax out (historically with a syringe - rather risky - and more recently with an irrigator machine - significantly less risky). But, surgeries have reduced and, in many cases, totally removed ear wax removal from their services on offer.
So now where do we turn? Well, if an awfully long wait to see NHS staff in the ENT department is not what you are after, the only option is to look at services being offered privately elsewhere.
And that is where it can all start to get a bit tricky!
Who is qualified to remove ear wax and how can I tell if they really are safe and knowledgeable?
Unfortunately, at this current time, there is no regulation on who can or cannot remove ear wax. Anyone is able to book onto a short course, buy the equipment and sell their services for ear wax removal. We are seeing an increase in wax removal services being offered by beauticians, health care assistants, and even barbers, all offering to remove your ear wax for a small fee, and all of whom have no experience in ENT.
Would you risk your hearing or the health of your ears with someone who has done a course for a day? Is it really sensible… when the risks associated with ear wax removal can range from an ear infection right the way through to perforating an ear drum and losing hearing? These are not risks that should be taken lightly.
Your ears deserve better!
We need the practitioner to have the training and experience to know what they are looking at when they look into our ears and, after the wax is removed, the practitioner must be able to identify any problems that require further investigation. Find someone who has experience, knowledge, and qualifications.
“Don’t be afraid to ask someone’s credentials,” says Madeleine Benson, from our team of highly qualified audiologists. “I favour honesty and transparency and would always be more than happy to explain my qualifications to a client. Check the HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council) register or the CQC (Care Quality Commission) register to find a listed practitioner. Hearing aid dispensers, audiologists, ENT doctors, and nurses are experienced at looking into ears and can identify a normal or an unhealthy ear. We undergo years of training, courses, and supervision to be able to confidently remove ear wax.”