A Worcester resident has helped shine light on a charitable campaign calling for the reformation of ear wax removal services on the NHS.

Emma Harris, 27, who requires ear wax removal every eight weeks due to high wax production and narrow ear canals, shared her experience to RNID, a national hearing loss charity.

RNID's new report reveals that an estimated 2.3 million people in the UK need ear wax removal annually to prevent debilitating earache, hearing loss, tinnitus, and crucial access to hearing testing or hearing aid fitting.



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However, the charity's findings show that less than half of England's Integrated Care Boards (ICB), the main NHS services commissioners, currently provide ear wax removal services according to public health guidelines, with some areas not commissioning any services at all.

Ms Harris's ear wax removal procedures were initially available on the NHS but halted during the pandemic.

She now covers these services privately, amounting to £40 per treatment, as well as being put on an indefinite NHS waiting list for three years now.

Ms Harris explained: "When I was 20, and I was living away from home in Birmingham at university, my ears blocked up suddenly and unexpectedly.

"My new GP did not do ear wax removal so they referred me to the hospital in Worcester.

"I had to wait four months for an appointment due to cancellations.

"I found life difficult during this time and spent most of the time in the house. "

Herefordshire and Worcestershire's ICB is one of three in England that restrict access to NHS ear wax removal services, including non-commission of services in Herefordshire, making it one of the worst regions to access the service in the country.

The ICB plans to launch a new adult hearing service from April to facilitate over-50s ear wax removal only when obstructing a diagnosis.

Victoria Boelman, RNID's Director of Insight and Policy, said: “It’s absolutely wrong that people in England who need ear wax removal to be able to hear and take part in everyday life are being left to face painful and debilitating symptoms, forced to fork out for private treatment, or risk dangerous self-removal methods."