Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

A new Cochrane review into the effects of ear drops (or sprays) to remove or aid the removal of ear wax in adults and children has been released from the Cochrane ENT Disorders Group at the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences.

Build up of ear wax is common. It can be uncomfortable for the patient and can cause hearing problems. Ear drops have been studied as a potential tool to soften the wax, preventing the need for further treatment such as syringing. This review looks at which treatment (oil- and water-based drops or sprays) can help resolve wax build up.

Bringing together the best available evidence which includes 10 studies, with 624 participants (835 ears), the authors of the study found that using ear drops when you have a partially or completely blocked ear canal may help to remove the ear wax in your ear. It is not clear whether one type of drop is any better than another, or whether drops containing active ingredients are any better than plain or salty water.

Professor Martin Burton, joint Co-ordinating Editor of Cochrane ENT and Director of Cochrane UK, said, “Many people use ear drops when they want to soften or remove wax from their ears. There’s not much high quality, scientific evidence out there to help people decide which to use. But what there is, suggests that using any sort of drops is better than nothing. When it comes to the choice of drops, there are various chemical-containing preparations sold over-the-counter for this purpose. This study shows that they aren’t necessarily any better than plain or salty water.”

Read the full review

Read the Evidently Cochrane blogpost: 'Ear drops to remove earwax: what works and is it worth the bother?'

Read the featured review on the Cochrane website

 

Ear drops for the removal of ear wax

 

 

 

 

Similar stories

Discovered gene patterns can predict prostate cancer treatment response

Nearly 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the UK. Perhaps the most significant clinical challenge today is deciding which type of treatment will work best for different patient groups.

Regent Lee wins top UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship

Dr Regent Lee of the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences is one of eight Oxford University academics who have been awarded significant financial funding from the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowships Scheme.

Largest trial of carotid artery surgery and stenting finds similar long-term effects on stroke risk

Results from a major clinical trial demonstrate that both stenting and surgery are low-risk and similarly effective procedures for treating carotid artery disease.

New issue of JNDS now online

A new issue of the Journal of the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (JNDS) has been published.

New Cochrane evidence highlights uncertainty about the interventions used to prevent and treat loss of smell after COVID-19 infection

Cochrane ENT at the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences has published two systematic reviews investigating the effectiveness and safety of interventions to prevent and treat loss of smell following COVID-19 infection.

Blog posts

My virtual work experience with NDS and NDORMS

Louise Tan, a Year 12 student from Ballyclare in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, recently attended the joint NDS and NDORMS Virtual Work Experience. In this guest blog, Louise reflects on her experience.

Celebrating women of NDS

To celebrate 100 years since women were admitted as full members of the University and on the occasion of International Women's Day, a group of inspirational women in the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS) reflect on their journeys, their place in Medical Sciences and their vision for the next 100 years.

The life of a research nurse: supporting the Oxford COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

Research nurses in the NHS are playing a crucial role in helping to trial new coronavirus treatments and vaccines. Three NDS research nurses stepped up to help with the fight against this new disease. Here Bhumika Patel shares her experience of working on the Oxford COVID-19 Vaccine Trial.

Why I became a Peer Supporter

The Peer Support Programme was developed in recognition of the essential role students play in supporting and encouraging one another on a day-to-day basis throughout their time at university. NDS’ own Helen Stark discusses her experience of becoming a Peer Supporter.

Racism under the microscope

As Black History Month gets underway in the UK, NDS Athena SWAN Coordinator Emily Hotine puts racism under the microscope.