Children need earwax just as adults do. The wax is used to lubricate and clean the ear of dust, dirt and other material that can collect inside the auditory canal.
The earwax transports the dirt out of the ear, and both wax and dirt will eventually fall out of the ear by themselves.
Therefore, it is not a good idea to put cotton buds or other objects into your child's ears. Such objects can clog up the ears and make matters worse rather than alleviate the problem. They can also perforate the eardrum, resulting in bleeding and temporary hearing loss.
If your child's ears need to be cleaned, wrap a damp cloth around your index finger and carefully wash the ears with circular movements. Never use anything else than the index finger and a damp cloth.
When to consult your GP
Earwax is produced in glands found in the thick skin along the outer auditory canal. If wax production seems unnaturally excessive, consult your GP.
Your child needs to see a doctor if he/she complains about constant itching and pain in the auditory canal, if puss or other matter is flowing from the ear, or if you find a red, painful swelling inside the child's auditory canal.
Your child should also visit your GP if he/she complains about hearing loss or has ringing noises in the ears. And you must always see a doctor if a foreign object has become lodged inside the child's ear.
Other symptoms to be aware of could be earwax of different colours or of varying consistency from time to time, e.g. a thick goo blocking the ear. If the ear is clogged up or blocked or if your child experiences a partial hearing loss you should also see your doctor.
What you can do
You can do some things yourself, however. Consult your doctor and buy prescription-free ear drops which can remove the earwax. If an insect becomes lodged inside your child's ear, you may put a few drops of mineral oil into the auditory canal. The oil will pacify the insect until your GP can remove it. Do not attempt to remove a foreign object from the ear as this may push it even further into the ear.
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