BRAINTREE district residents are among almost 10 million people in England who do not have access to ear wax removal on the NHS.  

A new report by the Royal National Institute for Deaf people (RNID) has found that 9.8 million people in seven areas across England have no choice but to pay for private removal which can cost up to £100.  

A FOI request by the RNID found that out of 42 NHS integrated care boards (ICBs) nationwide only 18 fully commission ear wax removal services in line with guidelines from National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).  

Seven ICBs, including Mid and South Essex, and Suffolk and North East Essex, do not commission ear wax removal at all.

The five other ICBs who leave people without access to NHS services include Birmingham and Solihull, Dorset, North West London, South West London, Cornwall, and the Isles of Scilly.

Most ICBs offer some services, with 15 ICBs partially commissioning services.

In some places where the service is commissioned, not all GPs choose to deliver it.

Chelmsford Weekly News: Money - Private ear wax removals can cost up to £100Money - Private ear wax removals can cost up to £100 (Image: Karolina Grabowska on Pexels)

A spokesman for the Mid and South Essex ICB said: “Microsuction is currently available where patients are referred into hospital audiology services as part of a hearing loss pathway.

“This service is offered as necessary, where a medical need is identified, but is not routinely offered by general practice. Our local primary care teams in general practice and community pharmacy can offer advice on how to manage excess ear wax safely at home with ear drops.”

The spokesman said microsuction is not an ear wax removal service and the referral for microsuction “for wax or any other reason” is subject to set criteria.

The spokesperson added: “Online NHS advice is also available Earwax build-up - NHS (”.

Braintree and Witham Times reader Paula Wyatt said she used to have her earwax cleared out by her GP which "took five minutes”, but now pays privately and it takes a lot longer to be removed by suction.

Reader Chloe Clements said: "I can't justify spending £65 regularly when it was free at my old surgery before I moved.”

Reader Verity Brown said the NHS refused to even look at her ears to see if she had infection but thankfully the clinic she went to were “brilliant”.  

Chelmsford Weekly News: Lottery - Professor Kevin Munro said the postcode lottery for ear wax removal should be removedLottery - Professor Kevin Munro said the postcode lottery for ear wax removal should be removed (Image: University of Manchester)

Professor Kevin Munro, Audiology at Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness, supports RNIDs' campaign and said: “RNID’s new report is a wakeup call".

"Remove the postcode lottery, follow NICE guidance, and improve the quality of life for over two million people who need ear wax removed each and every year, often on multiple occasions.”  

The hearing loss charity RNID is calling for urgent government intervention to ensure patients with a medical need for ear wax removal have access to NHS services “regardless of where they live”.

NICE guidelines state all adults regardless of age should be offered “primary care or community ear care services” if the earwax is contributing to hearing loss or other symptoms or if need to examine the ear or take an impression of the ear canal.