Is Earwax Removal Safe?enparents it OK to use cotton swabs to remove earwax?earwax, cerumen, ears, wax, ear candling, hearing problems, q-tips, cotton swabs, cleaning out ears, ear canals, hearing, qtips, cleaning out earwax, ear wax removal, removing ear wax, ear wax, ear infections, ear drums, eardrums12/27/200709/26/201609/26/2016Patrick C. Barth, MD10/14/20141d6f462b-a1eb-4bef-9b0b-8cd77296a96d<p><em>I've heard that using a cotton swab to remove my child's earwax isn't a good idea. Is this true? And, if so, how can I clean my child's ears safely?</em><br /> &ndash; <em>Arya</em></p> <p>That's true &mdash; it's not a good idea to stick anything into a child's&nbsp;ears. Doing so raises the&nbsp;risk of infection or permanently damaging eardrums and hearing. Regular bathing should be enough to keep earwax at normal levels.</p> <p>The waxy substance (called cerumen) that the ears make provides a coating for the skin lining the ear canal. This helps keep the canal skin from getting too wet or dry, which helps prevent irritation or infection. Earwax also traps dirt, dust, and other particles, keeping them from injuring or irritating the eardrum.</p> <p>While some people have more earwax than others &mdash; just as some people tend to sweat more than others &mdash; in general, the ear makes just as much wax as it needs.</p> <p>In some cases, a hardened lump of wax can form in the canal, which can make it difficult to hear in that ear or even trap bacteria and cause an infection. If this happens, don't stick anything inside the ear to try to remove the wax yourself. Doing so could cause permanent hearing damage.</p> <p>If your child&nbsp;needs to have earwax removed, a medical professional should remove it in an office or clinical setting. For hearing problems or pain or irritation in or near the ears, talk with your doctor, who can examine your child to find the cause.</p> <p>And while earwax remedies are sold in stores, it's important not to use anything inside a child's ears unless told to do so by a doctor.</p>
A to Z: Impacted CerumenLearn more about imnpacted earwax build-up, which can cause temporary hearing loss and ear pain.
Dealing With EarwaxEarwax helps protect the eardrum and fight infection. Parents shouldn't attempt to remove earwax at home, as doing so risks damage to the ear canal and, possibly, a child's hearing.
Ear InjuriesEar injuries not only can affect a child's hearing, but sense of balance too. That's because our ears also help keep us steady on our feet.
Eardrum InjuriesA "popped" eardrum is more than just painful - it can sometimes lead to hearing loss. Learn about ruptured eardrums and how to prevent them.
EarsHearing is their main job, but it's not all your ears do. Find out all about them in this body basics article for teens.
Hearing Evaluation in ChildrenHearing problems can be overcome if they're caught early, so it's important to get your child's hearing screened early and checked regularly.
Hearing ImpairmentHearing impairment occurs when there's a problem with or damage to one or more parts of the ear. Find out its causes and what can be done to help correct it.
Middle Ear Infections (Otitis Media)Ear infections are common among kids and, often, painful. Find out what causes them and how they're treated.
Quiz: EarsTake this quiz about your ears.
Swimmer's EarYou swam! You splashed! And now you have it: swimmer's ear.
Swimmer's Ear (External Otitis)Swimmer's ear is an infection of the ear canal that can be caused by different types of bacteria or fungi. Find out how to prevent or treat it.
Swimmer's Ear (Otitis Externa)Swimmer's ear is an infection of the ear canal caused by many types of bacteria or fungi. Find out how to prevent it.
Taking Care of Your EarsHow do you take care of your ears? Find out in this article for kids.
What Is an Ear Infection?A middle ear infection happens when germs like bacteria and viruses get in your middle ear and cause trouble. Read this article to find out more.
What's Earwax?Why do our ears make earwax? Find out in this article for kids.
Your EarsNow hear this! Here's an article about ears. Find out how your amazing ears do their amazing job.
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