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Below are the answers to our most frequently asked questions. If you can't find what you are looking for though please get in touch so we can give you an answer. We may even add it to this section, because chances are,  if you want to know the answer there will be somebody else who does too!

  • What is Ear Wax?
    Ear wax is a normal secretion from glands within the ear canal, combined with skin cells, dust and debris. It is made in the outer 1/3 of the ear canal and normally works its way out of the canal.
  • Is ear wax normal?
    Wax is normal and only requires removal if is causing a problem e.g. blocked or impacted wax, painful or the Eardrum is needing to be examined.
  • What about cotton buds?
    Cotton buds interrupt the normal self cleaning process. Irritation and over cleaning by cotton buds remove the natural protective measures and can lead to chronic otits externa and itchy ears. Cotton Buds are neither necessary nor appropriate as they push wax in further, can cause damage and may rupture the eardrum.
  • Do you advise syringing?
    Ear Nurse Specialists do not advocate syringing of the ear for wax removal. Damage to hearing can occur sometimes with ear syringing, and it is thought to cause tinnitus in some people. Sometimes the wax is not completely removed which can trap water and cause infection.
  • What is microsuction?
    This is using a microscope to visualise the ear canal and tympanic membrane, with the use of instruments, or suction to remove the wax. This requires knowledge and expertise to be carried out safely, and should only be carried out by a suitably trained and qualified nurse or doctor.
  • Who would get wax retention?
    Some people have slighty different anatomical features which impede the normal movement of wax out of the ear canal, e.g. narrow ear canals, people with exostoses (surfers ear or narrowing of canals due to bony growths), mastoid cavities (after mastoid surgery), and people who wear hearing aids or ear plugs.
  • How would I locate a trained Ear Nurse?
    The Ear Nurse Specialist Group Aotearoa have a list of ear nurse clinics at
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