Ear wax, also known as cerumen, is a natural substance that helps keep our ears clean and healthy. Ear wax is secreted from ceruminous glands in our ear, and stops particles, like dirt and dust from damaging our eardrums. Over time, ear wax usually will buildup, dry out, and then be pushed to the outer part of the ear, where it can fall out. However, especially with children, ear wax can collect faster than our bodies can remove it, which often causes a buildup.
A buildup of ear wax in an infant’s ear can certainly be undesirable. And, when buildups occur in infants ears, it is often difficult to decide whether or not it is a serious condition that requires a trip to the pediatrician. To help parents better understand, we put together a brief guide that covers important information related to ear wax in infants and toddlers. For more further information, questions, or concerns contact your child’s pediatrician.
WHAT EXACTLY IS EAR WAX?
Although parents know what ear wax is, they may not exactly know and understand all the specifics. ear wax is composed of dead skin cells and a sticky material that is created by the glands that line the ear. Although it may be unpleasant, it is normal for infants to have ear wax and it even keeps their ears healthy as it helps protect against infections. Infants tend to have either dry or sticky ear wax – both of which are completely normal and do not require medical attention.
IS THERE A NORMAL AMOUNT OF EAR WAX FOR INFANTS?
The answer is no. Usually, there’s no typical amount of ear wax that is normal. In fact, it’s very common to see wax in your children’s ear. Often times there may be one ear with more wax than the other ear. The bottom line, there’s no normal amount of ear wax.
WHAT CAUSES EAR WAX TO BUILDUP?
The glands in the ears are constantly producing that sticky material that creates ear wax. Over time, the wax is pushed out towards the ear, usually falling out. However, buildups can occur in many ways. The most common causes of buildups in infants and toddlers are:
- Cotton swabs. The most common cause of ear wax buildup is from cotton swabs. When well-meaning parents attempt to clean their children’s ear, they oftentimes push the wax back into their ear, creating a blockage.
- Fingers. Some parents attempt to move ear wax that is being pushed out of the ear with their fingers with the best intention in mind. However, this too can push ear wax back down into the ear.
- Ear plugs. Ear plugs of any kind can push the wax back down into the ear and cause a blockage.
WHEN IS EAR WAX A PROBLEM FOR MY CHILD?
ear wax should only raise a concern when a buildup causes the ear canal to be plugged with wax. When something like this happens, your child may experience poor hearing, earache, itching, and possibly hearing odd noises in their ear. A more serious problem is caused by wax trapping water in the external ear canal. If your child isn’t responding to sounds, shows signs of pain, or has an unusual amount of ear wax coming out of the canal, that is an indicator of a blockage that should be removed.
EAR INFECTION VS. EAR WAX BUILDUP
Often times it is hard for parents to tell whether their child’s ear problems are from and infection or a buildup. The truth is, it is difficult to tell. With both, you may notice your infant or toddler digging in their ear with their fingers, or rubbing and tugging at their ears. The big difference between the two is that a buildup won’t cause the major symptoms of an ear infection, sleep difficulties and fevers.
HOW DO I SAFELY REMOVE MY CHILD’S EAR WAX?
Many parents think the best way to remove ear wax in their infant or toddler is by using a cotton swab. When you use cotton swabs, you risk pushing the wax further down the canal – potentially causing a blockage and making the problem worse – as well as rupturing the thin tissue in their eardrum.
You can find a variety of ear wax removal kits at your local pharmacy, but these can be expensive and not the best solution for ear wax removal. There are ear drops available that are great for softening the wax and helping it be pushed toward the outer part of the ear.
USE THE OOGIEBEAR FOR TODDLER EAR WAX REMOVAL!
When you notice ear wax in your infant or toddlers ear, you don’t want to risk shoving it back down into the canal and cause bigger problems. oogiebear is a curette tool that works as a booger and ear wax remover for young children. This infant ear wax removal tool is made of soft rubber, so you won’t have to worry about it hurting your child. Unlike cotton swabs, the oggiebear was designed to prevent it from going to deep into a baby’s ear, eliminating the risk of pushing wax deeper into the canal or rupturing tissue. The oogiebear has two ends – a loop-end and a scoop-end – that makes child ear wax removal easy! Oogiebear is the solution to gentler, safer, cleaner, and more effective way to remove toddler ear wax.