Cochrane Summaries

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Using ear drops to remove impacted ear wax is better than no treatment, but no particular sort of drops can be recommended over any other

Burton MJ, Doree C
Published Online: 
21 January 2009

Impacted ear wax is one of the most common reasons that people visit their general practitioners (family doctors) with ear problems, as it can cause reduced hearing, discomfort, and sometimes pain and dizziness. Ear drops (either oil- or water-based) are often prescribed to clear the wax or to aid subsequent ear syringing if necessary. The review of trials found that ear drops (of any sort) can help to remove ear wax, but that water and saline drops appear to be as good as more costly commercial products. The quality of the trials was generally low, however, and more research is needed.

This record should be cited as: 
Burton MJ, Doree C. Ear drops for the removal of ear wax. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD004326. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004326.pub2
Assessed as up to date: 
22 April 2008