Cerumen, commonly known as earwax, is something we deal with on an everyday basis. It is essentially made up of dead skin cells and a sticky material secreted by the glands present in the ear. But contrary to popular belief, there is nothing disgusting or repulsive about it. It actually plays a very important role in keeping our sensitive eardrums safe from particles that can damage it.
The sticky nature of earwax helps to capture dust, dirt and other particles before they can go any further. Which is why it’s a smart idea to let earwax play it’s role in your child’s metabolic process. Earwax in babies can be flaky or sticky, both being quite normal. However, a buildup of earwax can interfere with hearing and cause ear aches.
What causes earwax buildup?
Usually, earwax moves from the inner canal to the outer ear by the hair like structures called cilia. It also moves when the skin in the ear regenerates. It is an entirely natural process.
We tend to interfere with this process by using earbuds or Q tips to forcefully remove the earwax. When not done properly, this can actually push the wax further into the ear canal and cause a blockade.
How to deal with earwax?
The most important way to deal with earwax is to wipe the baby’s outer ear with a wet washcloth. Try as much as possible to leave the inner canal alone.
If the earwax starts trapping water and compromising on your child’s hearing, that’s when it is advisable to see a doctor. The process is simple but should be avoided at home. A few drops of wax melting solution is used to remove the wax. It could also be substituted with warm liquid to flush out the wax on it’s own. The doctors could also use a device called a Curette to remove more stubborn wax, which is entirely painless.
If none of the above processes work, your doctor might advise you to go ahead for a visit to an ENT specialist, who will vacuum the wax out of your baby’s ear.
Try as much as possible to avoid forcefully removing earwax, as it has quite a beneficial role to play. Only if absolutely necessary, should one resort to using a earbud. This should also be done carefully to avoid damage.
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