Ear wax (or Cerumen)

Ear wax does an important job.

It cleans, lubricates and protects your child's ear from water, infection, trauma and foreign objects. Ear wax only needs removal if it is causing symptoms or interfering with a treatment.

How to manage your child's ear wax

Do not use if the child has any of the following:

  • perforated ear drum
  • ear infection
  • grommets

We recommend olive oil for the management of ear wax. Olive oil drops can be bought from a chemist. Sodium bicarbonate drops can be used in children over 5 years old but can sometimes cause dryness or irritation.

Use 2-3 drops for 5-7 days (some harder wax may take longer).

Lie with the affected ear uppermost when putting in drops and massage around the ear to help the drops down the ear canal and in to the ear wax.

Encourage the child to stay on their side for as long as possible. Avoid putting cotton wool in as this will soak up the oil.

We do not recommend the use of cotton buds as they will push the wax back towards the eardrum. (Never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear.)

We do not recommend the use of ear candles. If ear wax persists, please see your GP. 

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