Ear Drops - A guide to Hearing Loss

Ear drops are a common form of treatment for ear complaints and are available either from your local pharmacist or prescription only via your GP.

Over the counter ear drops

The majority of these are designed to treat a build up of ear wax. They contain a range of chemicals or are oil-based which break down this wax thereby softening it and enabling an easy exit via the outer ear.

As you might imagine there is a wide range of ear drops to choose from, all claiming to achieve the same result but with different prices.

The oil-based ear drops appear to work the best at softening stubborn wax deposits as well as lubricating the ear canal, making it easy for this wax to fall out of the ear. But you need to find the one which works best for you.

What to be aware of

These drops are usually safe as well as being effective but several of them contain peanut oil which is dangerous to those people who have a peanut allergy.

If you or your child is allergic to peanuts then be aware of this and look for nut-free versions.

They should have a list of exclusions such as not to be used on a perforated ear drum, broken and infected skin or possibly during pregnancy but check with the pharmacist first.

Prescription ear drops

These contain steroids or antibiotics which is why they are only available on prescription. They are usually prescribed for persistent or chronic ear infections only as GP’s don’t recommend their use for a one-off infection. The reason for this is that most ear infections only last for two to three days and clear up without any need for medication. Plus antibiotics have side effects which in some cases can be dangerous.

There is also the fact that several bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics, often as a result of overuse.

There are many different types of steroid or antibiotic based ear drops and the type you get will depend upon the type and extent of your ear infection. Your GP will discuss these with you as well as the potential side effects.

When administering ear drops to you or your child, then follow the instructions carefully.

Remove the lid, tilt your head to one side and drop the stated amount into your ear. Repeat this with your other ear.

Remove any jewellery before doing this and don’t share your ear drops with anyone else.

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Hearing Loss

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