Updated on September 06, 2010
K.H. asks from Tempe, AZ
20 answers

My 5 month old daughter has one ear that always seems to get lots of ear wax in it. I want to clean it out but my husband says I should leave it alone. We have special infant q tips that are big enough so I can't put them all the way in her ear.. should I use them? If not, how should I clean her ears? Also, does a build up of wax signify anything bad (like an infection)?

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answers from Fresno on

Don't stick the Q-tip in baby's ear! It can cause damage. Swabbing gently around the opening of her ear to get gunk out is okay. My son always had ear gunk and it drove me nuts. Dr. said okay, but to watch if he was having trouble with hearing or speech. He was having trouble hearing, and some ear aches, so Dr. removed a lot of gunk at his office with a special bendy type scooper that was very soft. We use Debrox from time to time when needed.

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answers from Phoenix on

No two ears are alike, no two eyes are alike, so it is normal to have one ear producing more wax - it is the body's way of protecting the ear and it will eventually work its way out closer to the entry and then you can get it out,but don't reach way inside or you could damage the eardrum. Next time you go to the Dr. for an appointment, have the Dr. use their special tool to get it out.

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answers from Albuquerque on

After having to go to the doctor to have my son's ears irrigated because of impacted wax, I would agree with your husband. The doctor recommended using a syringe with hydrogen peroxide during bath time. Fill the ear with it and let it bubble up for as long as your daughter will let it stay there. Then rinse with clean water. It worked pretty well. After the bath you can clean and dry off the outer ear with a towel or the infant q-tips.

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answers from Victoria on

My daughter used to get lots of wax coming out of her ears. She started to get fevers of unknown origin. Every time Dr.'s looked in her ears, they wuold tell me there was lots of wax, but said there was nothing for me to do about it. Well when she turned two, she hardly talked & I was about to get a speech therapist for her, but I ended up seeing a fill in Dr. and they cleaned my daughters ears out so the Dr. could see ear drum fully. Well the nurse got a huge ball of gunk out of both my daugghters ears!!! We haven't had any more fevers either. They expalined to me that from birth, dead skin, hair, & wax can form a ball that gets trapped in the ear. the ear makes more wax trying to get the gunk out! All they did to clean my daughter's ears was warm sterile water and put it in a syringe. Place the syringe tip in the ear opening and flushed multiple times. the warm water melted the wax and moved it around enough that it finally came out. The water was caught in a basin and it was nasty looking. About 2 weeks later, she was talking in sentences!!! So while I will say Q-tip not the thing to use, I would really see if your Dr.'s office can do something next time your there.

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answers from Tucson on

Never stick anything in the ears. When you take her in for her check up, they will clean it out safely. I can say I had an accident where a Q-Tip went into my ear and put a hole in the ear drum. It can happen even easier in an infant. You can render your baby def by sticking anything in her ear. It is better to just wait and let the doctor clean her ear safely. Ask the pediatrician what you can do to keep them clean as well.

D. P.

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answers from Charlotte on

Never put anything bigger than your elbow in your ear!

It's a funny saying, but it's true. You evidently have NO idea how dangerous it would be to put something in your baby's ear. I'm telling you right here and now that if you do, you could damage her ear and hearing irrepairably.

Take your baby to either her ped or an pediatric ENT. Discuss it with them if you don't believe me.

Do the right thing here, K.. Don't put a Q-tip in that child's ear.


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answers from Washington DC on

My daughter gets a lot of wax. My pediatrician says to leave it alone as the risk for damaging the ear drum or creating infection is higher by inserting a foreign object than any problems due to the wax itself. I know wax is protective, so I leave it alone, less using a washcloth to clean the external parts if I see any. Wax has NOTHING to do with infeciton, although other crud does appear in an infection. My daughter always had black gunk which I am sure was partially wax and partially pus when she had an infeciton. If you think there is too much wax the pediatircian has a tool that can remove it safely, but I wouldn't touch it.



answers from Boston on

You can use those big q-tips after a bath which will help with the wax you can see near the outside. It won't really help if she has a lot inside her ear though, I would check with the pedi on that. Does she ever get ear infections or anything? If not, I wouldn't worry too much about it.



answers from Providence on

My son always has lots of wax the Dr always says its a good thing. I used to be kind of embarassed but they always explain its good and they will say leave the ear alone its ok to just do around the outer side



answers from Phoenix on

do not do it by yourself, the baby might have an ear infection, i would take her to the doctor so they can prescribe meds and also get the ear wax out themselves.



answers from Cleveland on

My kids have the same problem with ear wax..my son has to see the doc faithfully to get cleaned out...When he needs it in between the appt I have these special qtip type of thing from walmart.They work pretty good..They have like this scoop tip.They are by the earplugs and other ear things :) Good luck



answers from Norfolk on

I remove it from my children's ears with the special qtips or my finger nail. Just what I can easily see. Now that my children are older they find it uncomfortable to have the wax in there and they ask me to get it out.



answers from San Francisco on

Go ahead and use the infant swabs but don't dig in her ear. You can put a few drops of mineral oil in her ear before bed and it will clear out any junk she has in there. You can remove it in the morning--whatever you can see at the opening of the ear-not inside. Wax just helps prevent infection-some kids have more than others. Nothing to worry about unless she seems to be in pain or her hearing is affected.




answers from Augusta on

There's something called Debrox earwax cleaner.
you can get it at target , ask the pharmacist where it is I can't remember what section it's in. It is a liquid you drip in the ear and it loosens and softens the wax.
My kids are the king and queen of ear wax, they produce enough for several people.
This is what our ped told us to get for ours.


answers from Norfolk on

There's a way to clean her ears using warm water (I add a little peroxide to it).
I the child version of this for my son, and we've kept his ears very clean with no risk to his ear drums. Sorry, I just read this is good for 3 yrs or older.
Until she's old enough you'll have to have her ears cleaned at the dr office.



answers from Houston on

You can clean out around the opening, but you shouldn't stick it in the ear at all. It can actually push the wax up against the ear drum which can lead to hearing problems. It can also stick to the ear drum...and it isn't pretty if they have to pull it out. It hurts.

Ear wax traps impurities and carries it out of the ear. The fact that you see it is actually a good thing...it means it is doing its job. The melting point of ear wax is just above body temperature so it doesn't take much to make it liquid.

Most ear infections in children are in the middle ear...on the other side of the ear drum. So, unless she has ear tubes (which isn't likely at 5 months), it isn't indicating an infection.

I am guilty myself of occasionally swiping out the inside of my daughter's ear, but I try not to make a habit of it.



answers from Phoenix on

Only wipe it out with a kleenex/square of toilet paper. Best to do it after a warm bath when the ears & the wax is warm and wet, wipe it out. (Good to get in a habit of wiping out ears everytime getting out of the water anyway.)
Don't worry about the wax, unless it becomes a serious problem. Maybe ask the pedi/ENT to flush it out at regular visits, if it really bothers you and seems to impact her hearing. Otherwise, just a wipe out of the outer ear after baths is enough. If it is visibly blocked, ask the doc. It's true to never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear and especially in someone else's ear, especially tiny baby ears.



answers from Fort Wayne on

I always clean my kids ears. I can't stand to see all that nasty wax! Just clean the opening though, don't stick the q-tip into the actual canal. Those baby q-tips work really well for that. I was told by a pediatric ENT those are ok to use since they just clean the opening of the ear canal. Those are specially designed to not push the wax back into the ear.

I wouldn't put anything like water or peroxide in your baby's ear until it's ok'd by a doctor. Talk to your pediatrician at your daughter's next appointment. They have special tools they can use to clean excess wax out of the ear canal.

Usually extra wax doesn't really mean anything as far as infections go. It just means that her body is working to keep her ear canal clean.



answers from Washington DC on

It is nothing to worry about unless she is displaying some type of discomfort. Our pediatrician said it is hereditary. Clean with the special infant Q-Tips just on the outside part of her ear. You should address it with her pediatrician the next visit. They can clean it out with special tools if she has a build up. Hope this helps!



answers from Joplin on

i agree with lm. my doctor always told me just to worry about getting what's visible , she said that a bust in the ear drum from a qtip is much worse compared to recieving it through infection. wax protects our ears.

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