20 answers

Gunky Ear Wax in 3 Year Olds Ear

My nearly 4 yr old daughter had a head/sinus cold a couple of weeks ago, which has now resolved, but when you look down her ear (with the ear thing the doctors use) you can see old dark yellow/brown wax build up. During her cold, she did complain of some ear ache.
I've heard of putting warm olive oil drops in ears to help with ear wax but I haven't done it before so would like to hear from others who have tried this; how you did it, did it work etc. Also any other ideas or experiences. I've also heard of ear candles. Any experience with these and little ones? I think she would lie still, but are they effective? How does the wax drain? etc. Thanks for any input

1 mom found this helpful

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Featured Answers

I'm with you H C, I hate to see earwax in my kids' ears and I always, always want to pick it out. But if you call the doctor, I bet they'll tell you to leave it alone. It works its way out all by itself. If it's not affecting her hearing, just leave it and it will come out eventually. If it is affecting her hearing, I would call the doc and see what they tell you to do. They have wax softening drops and can rinse the wax out with water...

1 mom found this helpful

I did use ear candles on myself once when I had a bad wax problem in my ear. I did two in a row and indeed removed some wax, but it didn't fix the problem. I ended up at the doctor - they used the saline trick somebody mentions below and it came right out. The candles are indeed a little tricky, and I can't imagine holding a 3-year old still for the process!

More Answers

Please don't mess with your daughter's ear canals without a doctor's advice. Ear wax is natural, moisturizing, and protective, and for most people is gradually self-cleaning, though some folks do produce more than others. Yellow to brown shades are completely normal.

More wax might conceivably be produced as the result of a head cold or ear infection, but unless it's bothering her, or there's such a huge plug of it that it's affecting your daughter's ability to hear, it's not something that needs treatment at all (and certainly not amateur treatment). Excess wax gradually works its way outward, where a simple Q-tip will take care of it. The wax you see was probably there before the ear infection, and most people can go their whole lives without dealing with wax buildup.

Ear candling is, according to some people in the alternative health community, simply a device to sell a product that's seldom if ever needed. I've known one person who claimed it made his ears feel "wonderful," whatever than meant, but others have said they noticed no difference and it was a real hassle to use. I've never heard any results for drops from actual users. But please don't put stuff in your daughter's ears without talking to your pediatrician. Unintended irritation, or even damage, is possible.

3 moms found this helpful

I'm with you H C, I hate to see earwax in my kids' ears and I always, always want to pick it out. But if you call the doctor, I bet they'll tell you to leave it alone. It works its way out all by itself. If it's not affecting her hearing, just leave it and it will come out eventually. If it is affecting her hearing, I would call the doc and see what they tell you to do. They have wax softening drops and can rinse the wax out with water...

1 mom found this helpful

I have to ditto getting it done at your pediatricians office. The might use a special instrument or a cleaning solution to clean out the ear canal.

My husband has constant problems with buildup and gets it removed at the doctors office as well, our doctor was very clear in stating that "ONE SHOULD NEVER ATTEMPT TO STICK ANYTHING SMALLER THAN YOUR ELBOW IN YOUR EAR".

Please do not try to use q-tips or ear candles, while the former can lead to more impacted wax and an infection of the ear canal, which is painful and bothersome. The latter (ear candles) can cause SERIOUS injuries, most notably burns to the ear, face and scalp and have been PROVEN to have no medical value WHATSOEVER!

If you absolutely want to be able to do it at home, have your doctor show you how you can safely use one of the OTC cleaning kits.

Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

We just use Q-tips.

My mum would put a few drops of baby oil on the q-tip before doing our ears as kids, (wax is oil soluble... so it will melt/dissolve to some degree in the presence of any kind of oil), but I always hated the feel afterward (oily ear canal), so we don't use it.

You do have to be careful with q-tips not to go in too far, for fear of rupturing the eardrum, but that's easily avoided.

I have chronic sinus infections (stupid weather/mold... I only have them here... the moment I cross the mountains into E washington or in any other part of the country my sinuses immediately clear up)... and I definately get excess ear wax with them. To the point where it will fill the canal and be draining down my ears (ugh...tmi). I have to clean them twice a day when I have a sinus infection, or I start to get major earaches (plus it's harder to hear).

With Ds7, for years I just cleaned his ears at night around once a week when I also cut his nails, while he slept. Fortunately he can do both now, himself.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi H C - I have two boys who have had repeated ear infections as well as excess wax at times and ear surgeries for both kids. Do NOT put anything into their ears unless directed by an ENT! Without seeing clearly what is beyond the wax can make things worse. For example "if" your daughter had/has a slight infection (these can clear up without medicine) after/during her head/sinus cold there possible could be some damage/rupture to her eardrum (this can & will heal on own). There is a possibility that anything you put into her ear could potentially flow into the inner/middle part of her ear and make things way bad for her.

If you see some icky looking wax close to the outside of her ear and can gently reach it (like with your fingernail) then you can try to remove it. Do not go further than that. Many, if not all, ENTs & regular doctors will tell you not to use Q-tips for ear cleaning due to the potential damage including pushing excess wax up next to the ear drum or worse damaging the ear drum. If the icky wax is beyond your fingernail length and you want it out you can always schedule an appointment with peditrician's office. They can clean it out (with special tools) especially if it is next to the ear drum. But if you choose to leave it alone, that is ok too. It is always good to keep a close ear to how your child is listening/hearing. If you notice a decrease in her hearing, there could be wax next to her ear drum & blocking/muffling her hearing. That is the time to get her into the dr for them to check her out & remove any obstruction.

Just remember, yes, people do thing without consulting a dr first but with our precious kids' hearing I would never want to be the cause of a hearing loss due to me trying to clean their ears. Let a professional (peditrician or ENT) show you the safe way to do it. Take Care & God Bless

1 mom found this helpful

I personally do ear wax candles on my clients and it's not a hoax it's a natural way of removing built up wax, helps restore balance, stops dizzy spells, it really is amazing, but I would reframe from doing it on a 3 yr old, u need to light the other end of the candle which could burn your little girl if she gets scared and moves about. with my clients< i use a tin pie dish with wet paper towels around the dish to catch the ambers, i also drape a wet towel around the shoulders, I personally have never had anything go bad but it could happen so fast, I would go with olive oi warmed up, there is also a Garlic/willow oil which we use on our 2 yr old. Good Luck

I didn't see this mentioned in the other comments when I briefly read through them but we used an OTC product called "Debrox" (if I recall correctly). It is is a yellow & green box and our doctor recommended it for our kids who tend to have a lot of ear wax buildup. They are drops that dissolve the wax safely. I can't recall what the ingredients are but you might want to check it out. Given that your daughter is 3, this would be very easy to use. Good luck!

Candling should only be done by a professional who is adept at doing this procedure. Excessive ear wax can, should be cleaned by your doctor and then ask them what is the best way to clear them. I have used q-tips, but you can compress the wax in the process of trying to clear only making matters worse. Again, go see your doctor.

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