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Overactive Earwax in Babies

by
author image Christa Miller
Christa Miller is a writing professional with expertise in massage therapy and health. Miller attended San Francisco State University to earn a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing with a minor in journalism and went on to earn an Arizona massage therapy license.
Overactive Earwax in Babies
A doctor looking in a baby's ear. Photo Credit gpointstudio/iStock/Getty Images

Your baby’s earwax may not be a matter of concern until you see it peeking out his ear. Earwax isn't pleasant to look at, but it’s an important product that moistens your baby's ears and protects his inner ears from foreign particles, according to BabiesToday.com. However, if your baby’s ears are overactive in producing earwax, wax can build-up and cause problems.

Cause

Earwax normally works its way outward through jaw movements, such as chewing, says BabiesToday.com. It typically dries as it reaches the outer ear so that it can flake off on its own. However, if your baby’s ears secrete too much earwax, the jaw movements aren’t enough to move all the old earwax out, new wax forms and the ear can become blocked, according to MayoClinic.com.

Risks

Too much earwax in a baby’s ear can prevent a doctor from being able to observe your baby’s eardrums if he’s trying to search for an infection, according to AskDrSears.com. An earwax blockage can also cause your baby discomfort and reduce her ability to hear. Your baby’s speech development may be impeded if her earwax blocks her hearing for many months, cautions AskDrSears.com.

Signs of Problems

Since your baby is unlikely able to verbalize his discomfort or inability to hear, you will need to look for other signs that earwax is blocking his ear canal. He may tug at or dig into his ears, and you may notice yellowish-brown drainage coming from his ear, says BabyCenter.com. Since he may also rub his ears if he has an ear infection, you can generally rule out infection if he doesn’t have a fever or sleeping problems, according to BabyCenter.com. An ear infection may also cause clear to milky or bloody colored pus.

Cleaning Your Baby’s Ears

The extent of home ear cleanings should be wiping down your baby’s outer ear with a wet washcloth or cotton swab, says BabyCenter.com. Using a small instrument, such as cotton swab, paper clip or hair pin, to remove earwax can push earwax farther into your baby’s ear or, in severe cases, rupture your baby’s eardrum, says BabyCenter.com. Your baby may also follow suit and try to put objects in her own ear.

Medical Assistance

Consult your baby’s doctor if you believe your baby’s ear is overactive in producing earwax. The pediatrician will examine your baby’s ears and, if necessary, use a warm liquid to flush out earwax or use a thin instrument to scrape it out, says BabyCenter.com. If your baby’s ears consistently become blocked with earwax, the pediatrician may suggest using homemade or store-bought solution to soften your baby’s earwax before you use a bulb syringe full of warm water to flush it out.

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