Kids need healthy ears to learn and grow. Ear infections can result in a variety of problems, including subpar academic achievement and lowered self-esteem.
Children may also experience a fever, earache and/or a discharge from the ear canal. If your child has one of these symptoms, talk to your doctor.
Clean Your Child’s Ears Regularly
One of the most important responsibilities of parenthood is ensuring the health and well-being of your children. This includes their ears. Ears play a critical role in our hearing and balance. As such, it is important to clean them regularly. However, many parents aren’t sure how to do so in a safe and effective manner. Using the right tools is crucial when cleaning your child’s ears.
For starters, avoid cotton swabs, which can damage your child’s ear canal and eardrum. Instead, use a soft washcloth or flannel dampened with water to wipe the outside of your child’s ears. Be careful not to go too far into the ear canal or you may push earwax deeper into the ear, which can lead to ear infections.
Earwax is a natural substance that helps keep your child’s ears healthy by trapping dirt and repelling water. However, sometimes too much earwax builds up, leading to an ear infection or ringing in the ears. When this happens, a doctor can often safely remove the excess earwax using special otoscopes and suction devices.
The best way to prevent a buildup of earwax is to practice good hygiene, including regular bath and shower time routines. This will usually be enough to slow the natural accumulation of earwax and prevent impacted cerumen, says a pediatrician at the CHOC Primary Care Network.
If your child has a lot of earwax, try applying two pipette drops of hydrogen peroxide or olive oil to each ear several times a day for five minutes (or as directed on the purchased product). This will help loosen and soften the earwax and encourage it to fall out naturally.
Keep a Close Eye on Your Child’s Ears
Ears are critical to human communication and balance, but they’re also an easy place for little ones to get into trouble. Keeping their ears healthy is a parent’s responsibility, and one that must be taken seriously. You can make sure that your family can professionally have ear wax removal in Aberdeen.
Young children are notorious for sticking things where they don’t belong, whether that’s crayons in the nose or earwax in the eye. In some cases, these foreign objects can cause a child to develop an ear infection.
An ear infection is a common medical condition that occurs when the middle ear (the space behind the eardrum) becomes infected with bacteria or viruses. Infection can cause an ear drum to rupture, and can lead to a buildup of fluid in the ear canal that causes pain, discomfort and sometimes fever.
As a parent, you can help reduce the risk of your child developing an ear infection by making sure that they’re not exposed to any harmful substances, observing their behaviour closely and keeping them away from noisy equipment. In addition, regular handwashing has been shown to reduce the risk of an ear infection.
Watch for Signs of an Ear Infection
Infections of the middle ear—a condition called acute otitis media—are common in infants and children. They occur when narrow tubes that run from each ear to high in the back of the throat become blocked and cause fluid build-up behind the eardrum. Viruses and bacteria—including the Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae germs that cause colds and the flu—can trigger them.
A doctor can see an infected eardrum with an instrument called an otoscope, which looks like a small flashlight with a magnifying lens. A healthy eardrum looks clear and pinkish-gray; infected ones are red and swollen. The doctor can also use the otoscope to examine your child’s ear canal for signs of an infection, such as a feeling of fullness in the ear or a tug on the earlobe.
Babies and toddlers often don’t have the language skills to verbally communicate that their ears hurt, so parents must be vigilant. If your child is rubbing or pulling on their ears, tugging at the earlobe, crying more than usual or acting fussy, they may have an ear infection.
Kids’ ears get infections more frequently than adults because their immune systems aren’t fully developed and the eustachian tubes that drain their ears don’t function as well. Plus, they tend to be exposed to more germs when they’re around other kids.
Try to avoid ear infections by ensuring your kids receive their recommended vaccines, including the pneumococcal and flu vaccine. Breastfeeding decreases the risk, and using over-the-counter cough and cold medicines that are safe for your kids (talk to your pediatrician about proper dosage). Also, encourage your children to wash their hands regularly, especially after going to the bathroom or swimming, and by staying away from secondhand smoke and other allergens.
Don’t Push Anything Into Your Child’s Ears
Objects that are not meant to be in the ears can cause great harm and should only be removed by a health care provider. Children often put objects in their ears out of curiosity and exploration. Injuries to the ear canal or perforation of the eardrum can result from trying to remove a foreign object that is lodged in the ear.
Many objects are found in children’s ears including food material, beads, toys and insects. These objects can be difficult to remove and a health care provider will need special tools to ensure the object is completely removed.
Children with untreated ear infections may experience learning problems and trouble following directions in the classroom. This can lead to subpar academic achievement and low self-esteem. The loss of hearing can also make it harder for children to interact socially and with family members.
If your child has something stuck in their ear, ask them if it is painful and what happened. Be sure not to threaten them with punishment if they deny having put it there, as this could cause them to attempt to hide the fact that they have an object in their ear, leading to further complications.
If the object is easy to see, try pouring mineral oil, olive oil or baby oil into the ear. Have your child tilt their head and gently shake it. This should help dislodge the object, but if it is still stuck in the ear, or you think there may be an insect in the ear, contact a health care provider right away. This resource helps parents, carers, teachers, teacher’s aides and early childhood workers understand why ear health is important and how to keep kids’ ears healthy. It also explains how to recognise signs of ear disease and how to get regular ear checks. It includes a story, activities and poster.
Keep Your Child’s Ears Dry
There are a lot of responsibilities that come with being a parent, from making sure your child gets to school and back each day, teaching them the ways of responsibility and respect and, perhaps most importantly, keeping them healthy. Taking care of their ears is important for children, and they should be encouraged to have regular ear checks as part of their general health routine.
If your child suffers from swimmer’s ear, or otitis externa, the cause is likely to be bacteria that grow in the moisture left behind by water that enters the outer ear canal. This can occur with a swim in a pool, river or ocean if the water isn’t properly disinfected. This is why it’s always a good idea to get your children swimming in pools that have been disinfected to the recommended pH level. Earplugs and swim caps can also help to protect the ear canal from bacteria, but they should not be used as a replacement for proper ear cleaning or for long periods of time.
The best way to prevent swimmer’s ear is to make sure the ears are completely dry after every swim. This can be done by tilting the head to each side and pulling at the earlobes while the body is facing down to encourage any water trapped in the ear to drain. A hair dryer set to the lowest heat and fan speed will also help to remove any excess water from your child’s ear canal.