Even though many do not like to see earwax in a toddler’s ear, always bear in mind that some amount of earwax is required to keep the ears clean, protected and properly lubricated. Earwax serves as an obstruction against detrimental substances such as bacteria that might enter the ear as well as preventing the ears from getting dry and itchy.
Most of the time, the ears can maintain the proper amount of earwax required for these vital functions, but the wax can sometimes accumulate and cause discomfort. In case a toddler develops a buildup, it is vital to remove it in order to maintain proper hearing as well as prevent irritation.
Why earwax buildup occurs?
It is important to note that earwax normally dries up and leaves the ear canal, thus allowing you to wipe it away. In case the child has earwax buildup, it can be caused by rapid production of wax. A toddler who does not drink enough fluids can end up with thick earwax that is more likely to accumulate in the ear.
Avoid using cotton swabs, your finger or other objects in an attempt to clean the ear canal of the child. These will only push the wax deeper into the ear, resulting to buildup.
What are the symptoms?
The toddler might tug at his/her ears or manifest other indications that there is discomfort. In case the ear of the child becomes compressed with earwax, he/she can complain of earache or a feeling that the ears at stopped up.
The earwax buildup can also lead to ringing in the ear, itching, partial hearing loss, discharge or even coughing. In some cases, you might be able to see the wax by simply checking the ears.
How to deal with earwax buildup
If you believe that the toddler has large amounts of earwax, a doctor should be consulted. The doctor can remove the wax blockage using a suction or scoop if needed.
You might also be able to remove the blockage at home. There are earwax removal drops available over-the-counter that can be used. Other options include a combination of hydrogen peroxide and water as well as baby oil or mineral oil to help soften the wax.
Once the wax is pliable, you might be able to expel it with a bulb syringe that is filled with lukewarm water. In case earwax accumulation is a recurrent issue, the doctor will recommend rinsing of the ears on a regular basis or suggest medications to prevent impaction.
Is it an ear infection?
The signs and symptoms of an ear infection and earwax buildup are quite similar. In case the child has fever or difficulty sleeping, he/she might have an ear infection instead of earwax blockage. The toddler might have an infection in the ear without fever or sleeping problems as well. A doctor should be consulted in order to determine the exact cause of the ear issues if there are ear symptoms that appear unusual or concerning.
Important considerations to bear in mind
It is vital not to put any object in the ear canal in an attempt to remove the earwax. This will only push the wax deeper into the ear that will make the issue worse or even puncturing the eardrum.
In case a child is suspected with a ruptured eardrum, do not place any liquid or other products into the ear since this can cause an infection. Just remember not to remove wax with ear candles that can cause burns, ruptured eardrum and impaction.