EXPERIENCED audiologist, Simon Swindells, has urged people across Wiltshire not to use do-it-yourself methods to remove ear wax.

He is sounding the alarm over a worrying trend of patients across Wiltshire and Somerset to increasingly resort to using dangerous DIY methods to clear their ears of wax that could put their hearing health at risk.

The warning comes in the wake of patients turning to cotton swabs, olive oil, and even makeshift tools, often with serious consequences, because of limited access to ear wax removal services on the NHS.

Simon, who runs the independent audiology business, South West Hearing Care, based in Westbury and Street near Glastonbury, said: "Earwax removal may seem like a simple task, but it's crucial to understand the delicate nature of the ear canal.

Wiltshire Times: Simon Swindells, owner and audiologist at South West Hearing Care, is "deeply concerned" about

"Improper attempts at removing wax can lead to a cascade of problems, including infections, hearing loss, and even perforation of the eardrum."

This week a report from hearing loss charity, the RNID, showed that almost 10 million people in England can no longer access free NHS earwax removal services.

The report concluded: “Ear wax removal is vital for people’s quality of life and wellbeing and should not be considered a luxury or nice to have.

"Where people are unable to access timely NHS wax removal services, they can experience painful and distressing symptoms, be unable to access essential audiological care or diagnosis, or experience poor mental health. All of this is avoidable.”

Simon cites a concerning rise in the number of patients in his Street and Westbury clinics, presenting with complications arising from DIY ear wax removal.

These range from mild irritation and temporary hearing loss to serious infections and permanent hearing damage.

"I’m deeply concerned to see people risking their hearing health because they lack access to proper care," he added.

Without easy access to an NHS service, many people are seeking out private services for help, which Simon says in turn is causing its own problems.

“If you go via a private service, I urge that you look for a qualified practitioner who completely understands the ear anatomy, has the required qualifications, practices in a clinical environment and knows what they are looking at,” he said.

“There are many practitioners who have found a route to offering this service by buying a machine, taking a one or two-day course, and practicing only on a manikin head, with little or no prior experience with ears.”