Parent’s Guide to Toddler Ear Cleaning: Dos and Don’ts
At Earol, ensuring the health and well-being of our little ones is important to us. While you might often focus on aspects like nutrition and hygiene when it comes to your little one’s health, it’s important not to overlook the health of our toddler’s ears. While some earwax is essential for protection and lubrication, an excessive build-up can lead to complications, ranging from a feeling of fullness and hearing loss to tinnitus and even infections2. Some individuals produce more wax than others, or they might have ear canals that make natural wax expulsion challenging2. Here’s how you can use Baby Earol, a gentle olive oil earwax spray to soften your toddlers ear wax.
Understanding Toddler Ear Health
Before we delve into the dos and don’ts of toddler ear cleaning, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the basics of toddler ear health.
Four out of five children will get a middle ear infection at least once1. Babies and young children are prone to middle ear infections (called otitis media). Pus or fluid builds up in the ear canal behind the ear drum, which causes pain and mild deafness1. Sometimes, the ear drum bursts, releasing the fluid and making the child feel better (burst ear drums usually heal up by themselves)1.
While most ear infections improve without any treatment, doctors prefer to use antibiotics to clear up severe cases1.
Common Ear Issues in Toddlers
One of the most common ear issues in toddlers is earwax build-up1. This can be a result of the child’s smaller ear canals or attempts to clean the ears with cotton swabs, which can push the wax further inside1. Sometimes, when the ear is filled up with wax, it can impair a child’s hearing1.
Toddlers are more susceptible to ear infections due to the shape and size of their ear canals3. The build-up of earwax can create an environment conducive to bacterial growth. The middle ear is the space behind the eardrum3. It’s normally filled with air but after an infection like a cold or sore throat, it can get filled with fluid3. This happens because the Eustachian tube (the tube which connects the middle ear to the back of the throat) gets swollen or blocked and the fluid can’t drain away3. The fluid in the middle ear then becomes infected with bacteria or viruses, which travel up the Eustachian tube from the nose or throat. Pus builds up and causes pain3.
Middle ear infections are very common in toddlers and babies, and they may get more than one. Their Eustachian tubes are still quite short and horizontal, so fluid and mucus can build up in the middle ear more easily than in adults3.
Excessive earwax can lead to hearing problems, speech development issues, and delayed language acquisition in toddlers1. Sound doesn’t travel well through fluid, so a child with an ear infection may have hearing difficulties. To them, normal speech will sound like a whisper1. This only lasts as long as the infection, with no link to any permanent hearing loss. However, constant middle ear infections might delay a young child’s speech development, simply because they can’t hear very well1.
Gentle Ear Cleaning Techniques
Maintaining your toddler’s ear health involves adopting gentle and safe cleaning techniques.
Here are some tips from experts:
- Consult a Paediatrician:Before you start any ear cleaning regimen, it’s advisable to consult your child’s paediatrician, especially if your toddler has a history of ear problems or is experiencing pain or discomfort4.
- Clean the outside of your ear with a damp cloth4
- Avoid cotton swabs4.
- You can use earwax softener to soften earwax for easier removal. Products such as Baby Earol are useful when needing to soften earwax and prevent build up. Baby Earol Olive Oil Spray is a specially formulated, gentle, and natural solution for ear cleaning. It contains pharmaceutical-grade olive oil, which softens and loosens earwax, making it easier to remove4.
- Regular, gentle cleaning:Consistency is key. Using Baby Earol morning and evening softens, loosens and breaks up earwax, allowing it to be naturally expelled from the ear. Baby Earol can also be used to soothe itchy and irritable ears3. Regular but gentle cleaning with Baby Earol can prevent the build-up of earwax. However, avoid overcleaning, which can lead to dryness and irritation.
Tips for Making Ear Cleaning a Positive Experience
Keeping ear-cleaning a positive and stress-free experience for your toddler is crucial.
Create a Comfortable Environment:
Choose a quiet, well-lit room and ensure your child is relaxed and comfortable. Distraction with toys or a favourite story can help6.
Involve Your Child:
Explain what you are doing in a simple and reassuring manner6.
Consider implementing a reward system or offering small treats after ear cleaning to create a positive association6.
Stay Calm and Patient:
Your child may be anxious initially. Stay calm and patient, and if needed, take breaks to ease any anxiety6.
Maintaining a Clean Environment
Use Warm Water
One of the safest and most effective ways to remove earwax in toddlers is by using warm water. Simply soak a clean washcloth in warm water and wring out the excess. Then, gently wipe around the outside of the ear and the entrance of the ear canal to loosen the earwax. Avoid inserting anything into the ear canal as it can cause harm6.
Try Saline Solution
You can also use saline solution to loosen and soften earwax before removing it. Mix a solution of equal parts warm water and hydrogen peroxide or apple cider vinegar and use a bulb syringe to drip the solution into your toddler’s ear. Allow it to sit in the ear for a few minutes before draining it out onto a clean washcloth6.
Use Olive Oil Spray
Olive oil can be effective in softening earwax for easy removal3. Tilt your toddler’s head to the side and spray Baby Earol into the ear. Made from a gentle blend of pharmaceutical-grade olive and mineral oil to soften and naturally remove earwax and soothe dry and itchy ears, with no mess3.
Seek Professional Help
If your toddler has excessive earwax build-up or experiences ear pain, it’s best to seek professional help. A healthcare professional can safely remove the earwax using specialized tools and techniques. Avoid using cotton swabs or other objects to remove the earwax as they can push it further into the ear canal and cause damage6.
How To Clean Toddlers Ears: The Do’s
Proper ear cleaning for toddlers is about following the do’s and avoiding the don’ts. Let’s explore the essential do’s of toddler ear cleaning:
Use Baby Earol Olive Oil Spray:
A small amount of olive oil solution can be easily absorbed by hardened or impacted earwax, hydrating and loosening the bonds between particles and causing them to break apart3. The oil also lubricates the ear canal so that earwax can be easily removed by an audiologist, with little discomfort for the child3.
Consult Your Paediatrician:
Always seek guidance from your child’s paediatrician before using any ear cleaning product, especially if your toddler has a history of ear problems or is experiencing pain or discomfort.
Follow the Instructions:
Carefully read and adhere to the instructions provided with Baby Earol. Proper usage is vital for effective and safe cleaning.
If the earwax is outside the ear canal, a gentle wipe with a damp cotton ball or gentle cloth is all your toddler needs. If the earwax is impacted or built up in the baby’s ear canal, an olive oil spray can help loosen the blockage. For children older than 24 weeks / 6 months, Baby Earol® is a recommended spray for babies and toddlers ears. This helps soften earwax so that it can naturally fall out of the ear canal3.
To use Baby Earol to prevent earwax build-up, for example, if there has been a previous blockage or if the ears produce a lot of wax, apply the spray just once a week. This will help maintain soft ear wax and healthy ears, without over-stimulating the glands in the ear canal that produce earwax3.
How To Clean Toddlers Ears: The Don’ts
Equally important is knowing what not to do when it comes to cleaning your toddler’s ears. Here are the essential don’ts advised by ‘Health for under 5s’:
Avoid Cotton Swabs:
Cotton swabs can push earwax deeper into the ear canal, potentially damaging the eardrum. They should not be used on toddlers5.
Take your time when cleaning your toddler’s ears. Rushing the process can cause discomfort and anxiety for your child5.
Seek Medical Help If Needed:
If your toddler experiences persistent ear pain, discharge, or other unusual symptoms, consult a healthcare professional immediately. Ear cleaning with Baby Earol should not be used to treat medical conditions5.
How To Use Baby Earol
Now, let’s delve into the specifics of using Baby Earol Olive Oil Spray to ensure your toddler’s ears remain clean.
- Open the ear canal by gently lifting and pulling outwards on the upper ear3.
- Spray Baby Earol® once into the blocked ear3.
- Massage the small bump on the outside of the ear3.
- Apply Baby Earol® twice daily for up to 7 days before wax removal, or once a week after wax removal as a preventative measure3.
Remember, the best course of action when you suspect any ear problems in your toddler is to seek advice from a paediatrician or an ear, nose, and throat specialist. They can provide guidance, diagnosis, and appropriate treatment if needed. Ultimately, the goal of ear cleaning for toddlers is to maintain their aural health without causing any harm or discomfort. By following these dos and don’ts, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring that your child’s ears remain clean, safe, and healthy. Keep in mind that patience, love, and gentle care are your best allies in this important aspect of parenting.
1 Department of Health & Human Services (1999) Ear problems in children, Better Health Channel. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/ear-problems-in-children#:~:text=Babies%20and%20young%20children%20are%20more%20likely%20to%20develop%20middle,the%20Eustachian%20tube%2C%20is%20mature (Accessed: 12 October 2023).
2 Thierry (2023) The remarkable role of Earwax, VSM Pharmacy. Available at: https://vsmpharmacy.co.uk/remarkable-role-of-earwax/#:~:text=While%20some%20earwax%20is%20essential,make%20natural%20wax%20expulsion%20challenging (Accessed: 12 October 2023).
3 Baby Earol® olive oil spray: Natural ear wax remover (2023) Earol®. Available at: https://earol.co.uk/earol-products/babyearol/ (Accessed: 12 October 2023).
4 Baby Earol® olive oil spray: Natural ear wax remover (2023) Earol®. Available at: https://earol.co.uk/earol-products/babyearol/ (Accessed: 17 October 2023).
5 Caring for your child’s ears (no date) Health Under 5s. Available at: https://healthforunder5s.co.uk/sections/baby/caring-for-your-childs-ears/#:~:text=If%20you%27re%20washing%20the,insides%20of%20the%20ears%20alone. (Accessed: 16 October 2023).
6 – (No date) How excessive ear wax can affect your child’s hearing. Available at: https://northlondonearwaxclinic.com/how-excessive-ear-wax-affects-childs-hearing/ (Accessed: 01 November 2023).