Ear Wax Removal in Singapore: The Right Methods and Costs To Get Your Ears Cleaned

Sep 19, 2022

Article by Hearing Partners, contributed by ​Sadrina Shah, Clinical Audiologist at Hearing Partners

If you’ve ever cleaned your ears yourself, you’d know how satisfying it feels to get rid of all the gunk. However, did you know that the ear actually has a self-cleaning mechanism? In fact, you don’t have to clean them yourself at all! 

Having said that, some individuals may be prone to faster production of earwax which causes an excess buildup. In such cases, you’ll need the help of a professional to remove your earwax.

In this article, we’ll touch on the costs and right methods of earwax removal in Singapore. We’ll also cover the causes and symptoms of earwax buildup, and answer your burning questions!

Summary: Costs of Ear Cleaning Methods in Singapore

In Singapore, there are several ear cleaning methods that you can consider. Here’s a quick summary of the methods and their estimated costs.

MethodEstimated costAdvisable?
DIY at home$1.00 - $20.00No
Ear candling$25.00 - $40.00 per sessionNo
Ear irrigation$20 - $100 per session (Public)
$30 - $120 per session (Private)
Yes
Micro suctionYes

As shown above, removing earwax by yourself or by ear candling is not advisable because these methods may cause more harm than good. 

Instead, it’s best to seek a professional for an ear irrigation or micro suction procedure.

What is Earwax Buildup

As a natural bodily process, your ear canal produces earwax (medical term: cerumen) to protect and moisturise itself. Earwax helps trap dust and other unwanted particles; they remove these particles as they move towards the outer part of the ear canal and flake off.

While it is good to have, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. For some individuals, earwax production may be faster than normal. Coupled with undesirable habits such as regular ear digging, this may cause buildup.

Causes of Earwax Buildup

Undesirable habits

Earwax buildup may be caused by the following habits:

Woman digging ear with a cotton bud

Regular ear digging with cotton buds

Ear digging pushes earwax deeper into the ear canal which may cause the self-cleaning mechanism to fail. 

Additionally, removing wax also removes moisture from the ear. This may cause the ear to overcompensate by producing more earwax to keep the ear canals moisturised.

Prolonged use of earphones, ear plugs or hearing aids

Putting something in your ears for a long time may prevent earwax from coming out and pushes it into the ear canal. 

In Singapore’s humid environment, this stimulates more sweat and earwax to be produced.

Woman listening to music with earbuds
Woman listening to music with earbuds

Prolonged use of earphones, ear plugs or hearing aids

Putting something in your ears for a long time may prevent earwax from coming out and pushes it into the ear canal. 

In Singapore’s humid environment, this stimulates more sweat and earwax to be produced.

Natural causes

Other than bad habits, there are some causes not within one’s control that may cause earwax buildup.

Eczema or dry skin

Earwax helps to moisturise the ears. Thus, if the skin outside the ear canal is dry, the ear will overcompensate by producing more earwax, leading to a buildup.

Narrow ear canals

Those born with more narrow ear canals may not have an effective self-cleaning mechanism which will cause earwax to buildup.

Prolonged exposure to polluted air or environments

Another function of earwax is to trap dirt and unwanted particles such as dust. Frequent exposure to polluted environments can cause the ear canal to produce more earwax to clean out these substances.

Symptoms of Earwax Buildup

So, how do you know if you have a earwax buildup and need to get it cleaned? Here are some telltale signs to look out for:

Woman experiencing pain in the ear
  • Ache or pain in the ear
  • Difficulty hearing
  • Ringing in the ear or tinnitus
  • Feeling of a blocked or clogged ear
  • Discharge or odour from the ear
  • Dizziness

Note that if earwax buildup is not treated, it may lead to infection.

What Happens When You Dig Your Ears

It’s not advisable to dig your ears yourself! This is why:

Cross-section of an ear and the ear canal

When you dig your ears, especially with a cotton bud, it’ll only push the earwax deeper into the ear canal. This may lead to impacted wax and disrupt the self-cleaning mechanism and cause it to fail.

You also risk puncturing the eardrum or having the cotton bud break and getting stuck in the ear canal.

The Right Ways To Remove Earwax

If you’re experiencing earwax buildup, it’s best to visit a general practitioner (GP) or ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist to get it removed. In general, there are 2 main methods of earwax removal in Singapore.

Ear irrigation

Woman undergoing ear irrigation procedure

Ear irrigation is a common, simple and routine procedure done in GP clinics in Singapore to remove excess earwax. 

How it works:

  • The GP inserts an otoscope into your ear to check for wax buildup
  • Once confirmed that there’s a wax buildup, the GP will insert a syringe tool filled with a water and saline mixture in your ear
  • The earwax will then flow out of the ear canal into a dish or basin

Note that you may feel a slight discomfort when the water gets inserted in your ear. The process should take about 30 minutes or less.

ProsCons
Simple procedureCan get messy since water is involved
Relatively affordableMay not be able to clear earwax fully
Can be done by many GPsCannot be done if you have a ear infection

Micro suction

Another method of earwax removal is via micro suction which is done by ENT doctors.

How it works:

  • The ENT doctor inserts a micro suction tube into the ear, together with an endoscope to take a closer look of the ear
  • The tube extracts earwax carefully
  • A small forceps may be used to extract hard or dry earwax if necessary

ProsCons
Safest method of removalMore expensive
Negligible or no pain unless earwax is hard or impactedSuction sounds may be noisy for some
Treatment for ear infection (if required) can be done concurrentlyOnly performed by ENT specialists

Cost of Earwax Removal in Singapore

The cost of earwax removal in Singapore depends on 

  • the type of procedure chosen (since it can be performed by a GP or ENT specialist) and
  • whether the clinic is a public or private clinic

Here’s a rough price range as a gauge:

 PublicPrivate
Ear irrigation$20 - $40$30 - $60
Micro suction$50 - $100$90 - $120

To get a more accurate quotation, contact your preferred GP or ENT.

FAQs About Ear Cleaning and Earwax Removal

Does ear candling work?

Ear candling practitioners tend to sell benefits such as being able to remove wax from the ear and improve hearing. However, there has been no scientific evidence that ear candling has the said benefits.

In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised against using ear candles as it can lead to burns, punctured eardrums and blockages in the ear canal. 

Hearing Partners discourages anyone from trying ear candling. If you need to get your ears cleaned, consult a GP or ENT doctor.

Do you have to clean out your own earwax?

No, you don’t! The ear has a self-cleaning mechanism and need not be cleaned unless there’s a buildup of earwax.

The lining of the ear canal, which is a thin layer of skin, grows outwards towards the entrance of the canal. This works like a conveyor belt that causes unwanted particles such as dead skin and earwax to move towards the outer part of the ear canal. Jaw movements such as chewing can also help to facilitate this movement.

The lack of moisture will then cause them to dry up and flake off naturally.

Why are my ears bleeding after I clean them?

There may be a few reasons why your ears started bleeding after you cleaned them with Q-tips.

  • A pimple, cut or wound in the outer ear that may have been irritated
  • Your eardrum may have been scratched or punctured
  • A possible ear infection

In minor cases, the bleeding should stop on its own. However, if the bleeding is persistent, consult your doctor.

What happens if you don't get your ears cleaned?

Typically, the ears will clean themselves as they have a self-cleaning function. But at times, some individuals may experience a risk of earwax buildup. 

In such cases, you’re advised to seek a professional (GP or ENT doctor) to get your ears cleaned. Untreated earwax buildup may lead to hearing loss, ear pain or aches, dizziness and ringing in the ears.

Reconnect To Your World With Hearing Aids

Connection is a basic human need. From birth, children are wired to connect to their mothers. A baby’s cry sparks the production of oxytocin (also known as the “bonding hormone”) in the mother. This hormone serves as a signal for the mother to bond with her child...

Welcome To Our Website

We’re excited to announce the launch of our newly redesigned website that includes more comprehensive information about our hearing tests, services and devices! Read on to find out more about what we’ve revamped. About Hearing Partners There’s nothing more important...