When a child has ear wax, it's best to leave it alone to let it fall out on its own, and avoid using a Q-tip to remove the wax. Find out when a parent should take his child to a doctor to treat an ear problem with help from a pediatrician in this free video on ear problems.
Hi. I'm Dr. David Hill, and today we're going to be talking about how to get rid of ear wax in a child. Now, this is a concern that a lot of parents express to me in my pediatric practice. However, usually I'm able to be very reassuring. Ear wax is good for ears, it belongs there. And let me show you on an ear model. This is the external auditory canal. This is the part of the ear that you're able to see. And the ear wax is formed just in the outside half of this canal. It really doesn't form down deep here by the eardrum. Now there's a little narrowing or twist in the ear canal right here, where you don't want the wax to get packed down. So, something you never want to do, is to use a q-tip in the child's' ear. You risk damaging this very sensitive delicate skin in the ear canal, and you risk packing the wax down close to the eardrum where it's a lot harder to remove. So, most of the time, we tell parents, leave it alone. Wash the ear out a little bit during the bathtub, and be happy. What happens is this skin tends to grow outward. It almost forms a little conveyor belt, and with time the wax that's deeper in the ear will ride out on that skin, dry off and fall out of the ear canal on it's own. Now, occasionally, wax may become blocked up in the ear, causing a blockage, pain, hearing loss. And when there are those symptoms, you're going to need your doctor's help. First of all, we're going to have to look in the ear, with an otoscope, so that we can see exactly whats happening in there, and whether there really is a wax blockage. Kids also put a lot of foreign objects in their ear. They may have had ear tubes which can collect wax, and it's a little tricky to get it off the ear tubes, if that's the case. So, you're going to want you're doctor's help with that. We may instruct you to instill a medication like Debrox or Doquesate into the ear, to soften the wax. We may want to use one of these ear curates to try and remove the wax ourselves, but always while we're watching what we're doing through an otoscope, so that we can make sure we're not damaging the eardrum or we're not pushing the wax farther in, or also not damaging the ear canal. If we know the ear drum is in tact and doesn't have a hole in it, we'll sometimes shoot some water in the ear, using a syringe or a little water-pick like machine, but don't do this at home. Because if there's a hole in that ear drum, you can introduce infectious material into the middle ear and cause an ear infection, something you definitely don't want to do. Occasionally we have to ask the child to go to an ear, nose and throat specialist. They have some tools that the general pediatrician doesn't have usually. One's a little a sucker, that can actually suck wax out of the ear, rather than scraping it out. The other is an operating scope, where they can actually look and get a sense of depth perception inside the ear, and really see everything that's going on, and see what there doing. So, if you're worried about wax in your child's ear, first of all, know it's good, it's supposed to be there, and it should come out on it's own. Second of all, if it really seems to be causing a problem, be sure and involve your doctor in the cure. Home remedies are not a great idea. Your doctor may instruct you to instill some sort of medication in the ear, and with his or her help, that's a great idea. Talking about getting wax out of a child's ear. I'm Doctor David HIll.
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