In normal amounts, ear wax (cerumen) provides protection from bacteria and acts as a self-cleaning agent and lubricant, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology. However, once ear wax builds up, it can cause discomfort, partial hearing loss, tinnitus, odor, itchiness and dryness of the ears. If your child experiences one or more of these symptoms, it’s time to clean up his ears. Fortunately, you can perform natural remedies to remove ear wax.
Use Natural Ear Drops
Loosen ear wax by dropping baby oil or mineral oil in your child’s ears, advises MayoClinic.com. Avoid using vegetable or olive oil, which can go rancid when they sit in the ear canal. Use a dropper to apply two to three drops of oil into each ear. If you do not have an ear dropper on hand, you can use a medicine dropper, but first sterilize it with hot water or alcohol before using. Tilt your child’s head on one side or have your child lie down sideways with the affected ear facing up. Gently pull the ear lobe away from the neck, hold the dropper directly above the ear opening without letting the dropper touch the ear and gently squeeze to apply the drops. Your child should stay in this position for at least five minutes so that the oil will spread into the canal. Wipe off any oil that may wash out of the ear. Repeat this step on the other ear if necessary. After a few minutes, the oil will loosen the ear wax, which will come out eventually.
Irrigate Ears Using Warm Water
Use warm water to irrigate your child’s ears by using a bulb or medical syringe (without needle) containing warm (not hot) water. Keep the temperature of the water the same as the body temperature so that your child will not experience dizziness. To irrigate, tilt your child’s head at an angle, then start squirting water inside the ear using the syringe. Use a bowl or hollow tray to catch any dripping. American Academy of Otolaryngology cautions people not to use an oral jet irrigator, a dental cleaning device used at home, in place of a syringe because it can damage your child’s eardrums. You should not irrigate your child’s eardrums if your child has diabetes, a perforated eardrum and tube in the eardrum or a weakened immune system to avoid infecting the inner tissues. Ear irrigation is most effective after applying ear drops or saline solutions that loosen ear wax at least 30 minutes before.
Avoid using cotton buds in cleaning your child’s ear. If you see thick ear-wax buildup near the ear opening and on the earlobes, use a damp cheesecloth to wipe it off. According to MayoClinic.com, digging out hardened ear wax with cotton swabs, hairpins, paper clips, cotton buds and sticks may push the wax farther into your ear and cause serious damage to your eardrums and ear canals. Avoid using ear candles because they can cause skin burns and middle ear damage.