Earwax

Your baby needs a certain amount of earwax in order to keep their ear clean and healthy. Earwax is completely natural and is also known as cerumen.

Earwax is a waxy substance which is produced by the glands in the ear and is used to lubricate the ear and also to stop any dust or dirt from entering and damaging your baby’s eardrum. If your baby did not have any earwax, you would find that their ears would become sore, dry, cracked, waterlogged and possibly infected.

Children generally have soft earwax although adults may have soft or hard or wet or dry earwax.

The wax in child’s ears should build up naturally, then dry out and move on its own to your child’s outer ear where it should just fall out. However, sometimes your child’s earwax may build up more quickly than your child is able to naturally remove it and this can cause excessive earwax. You may be able to clearly see excessive wax in your child’s ear and this may be yellow or brown. There is no need for concern as this wax will eventually fall out on its own accord.

If your child has excessive earwax, it is not because your child is dirty and there is generally no need to be concerned or worried.

When should I seek medical advice?
It is possible for your baby’s ears to produce so much wax that their ear canal becomes blocked with wax. Some of the signs that may indicate you child may have an earwax problem include:

  • Hearing problems
  • Speech delay/problems
  • Itching ears
  • Ear aches
  • A ringing sound in the ear

If you think that your child’s ears are blocked, you should visit you doctor who will be able to check your child’s ears. Your doctor is likely to suggest using ear drops on your child. Ear drops are used to soften the wax in the ear and therefore it should be able to fall from the ear more easily. You are able to buy ear drops suitable for babies and young children from a pharmacist although you should always read and follow the instructions and guidelines fully.

It is vital that you never insert anything into your child’s ear to try and remove the wax that you see as this is more likely to push the wax further into the ear and cause more problems such as infection or damage to your child’s hearing and ears.

If you are concerned about earwax in your child’s ears, you should speak with your Health Visitor or doctor who will be able to offer you more advice.

by Jenny, mum to William and James

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