Earwax Buildup: Ways to Clean Your Baby’s Ears

    Earwax Buildup: Ways to Clean Your Baby’s Ears

    Maintaining clean baby ears is an important part of good hygiene. Earwax, also known as cerumen is produced by our body to protect the ears. Wax in the ears is made up of dead skin cells and sticky, thick material. This material is produced by the glands lining the ear. Earwax has both – antibacterial as well as lubricating properties. However, having earwax is absolutely normal and a part of baby’s physiology. It does not pose any threat to the baby’s health until it shows certain severe symptoms. Keep reading to know tips to clean baby ears and when to seek medical help.

    Is Buildup of Earwax Normal?

    Children of all ages have wax building up in their ears. Parents usually try to remove the wax out of from kid’s ears as personal hygiene. But most of the times earwax comes out on its own. The only time to worry about earwax issue is when there are certain signs and symptoms, which we have covered in this article.

    It is completely normal if you see some amount of wax in your child’s ears. Sometimes, you’ll even see more earwax in one ear than the other. There is no specific quantity or amount which can be termed as normal earwax.

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    What Can Parents Do to Clean Baby Ears?

    Never use a cotton sponge or wipe to clean your baby’s earwax, as most of the time, that’s what causes the wax to build up. Make use of a washcloth to clean your baby’s outer ear canals smoothly. And then leave the canal alone.

    You may even try using Debrox (eardrop). It dissolves the wax, enabling it to make its way out of the ears on its own.

    There are also certain home remedies that you can try to get rid of the hardened wax in your baby’s ears. You can do this by using two to four drops of mineral oil or olive oil.

    1. Take some oil in a container and warm it up to a temperature that suits the baby’s skin.
    2. Take some drops of oil in a dropper.
    3. Slowly pour small drops of it in your baby’s affected ear (having the wax).
    4. Make your baby lie down with the ear (in which you have poured oil) up. Let the oil seep into the ear for a few minutes.
    5. Either you can do it one time or repeat it for a few days depending on the hardness and volume of the wax.
    6. The earwax would melt slowly and start coming out on its own. It might not come out immediately, but during the day or gradually.

    When Should You Consult the Doctor?

    When it comes down to how to clean baby ears, if the earwax doesn’t seem to soften and come out on its own, even after trying, you must visit your doctor. Doctors make use of a dedicated instrument called a curet to remove the earwax or flush it out with warm water.

    Also, when you observe any of the below symptoms in your baby, it’s time to take your baby’s earwax issue seriously.

    • Your child starts experiencing pain in his/her ears
    • A feeling of itchiness in the ear
    • Unable to hear properly or some changes in the hearing
    • If pus or blood starts coming out of the ear
    • Discharge coming out of the ear
    • A feeling of fullness in the ear
    • Some ringing noise in the ear

    Earwax is a normal phenomenon in babies as well as adults. It can be treated with simple home treatments or let it come out on its own. And times when your earwax starts causing you major trouble, visit your doctor without any delay.

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    For any concerns on how to clean baby ears, it’s best for your and your baby to visit an Ears, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor annually.

    Learn more about baby care, here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Ruben Macapinlac, MD, DPPS

    Pediatrics · Philippine Pediatric Society

    Written by Nikita Bhalla · Updated Jun 16, 2021