Don't try this at home: DIY ear wax removal kits
12 April 2023
DIY ear wax removal kits likely to be ineffective, and some are potentially unsafe
We asked an expert to examine popular products and found many lack good evidence, while others may be risky to use.
Some popular products advertised for home ear wax removal are potentially risky and could damage your ears. Others may be ineffective at best, wasting your money and delaying proper treatment.
We asked leading expert, Kevin Munro, Professor of Audiology at the University of Manchester, to assess how effective and appropriate a selection of products were for home use.
Ear wax helps to keep your ears clean and lubricated. But for some people it becomes a problem, becoming hardened and impacted and not naturally dispersing. This can affect your hearing, which if left untreated can have significant knock-on effects including social isolation and depression.
GP surgeries used to offer an NHS ear cleaning service, but in England they aren't contractually obliged to provide ear wax removal treatment and many no longer do.
Private ear wax removal options can be pricey, so it’s no surprise people are attempting DIY treatments, but our snapshot investigation found that there are products you'd be wise to avoid.
Two gadgets sold on Amazon (of which there are many similar versions available online) were considered potentially risky by our expert due to poor advice on safe use and the potential to cause serious damage in amateur hands.
Home ear wax removal products: the verdict
We asked Professor Munro to examine a range of popular home ear wax removal treatments, including big-brand high street options, and some of the most popular devices and gadgets sold online. He was sceptical about most, as there is little good evidence to back their use, and thought some were potentially unsafe.
Professor Munro was most concerned by two products. First is the Bupaly wireless ear camera, which he said contained no guidance on safe use and could cause serious damage if not used correctly. And he thought the KVK Ear wax remover, and similar products like it, could seriously harm the user.