Wax buildup in children is very common and, although parents often worry about it, there is generally no cause for concern.
Children have very narrow ear canals which predisposes them to wax buildup. Parents who try clean their children’s ears with cotton buds generally exacerbate the situation and cause more wax to build up.
The ears are one of the only parts of the body that clean themselves. When left alone, wax will be make its way out of the canal and can simply be wiped away when visible (no cotton buds needed).
Generally, wax does not cause any symptoms at all. Occasionally, when the ear canals are completely occluded with wax, children may develop a conductive hearing loss where sounds cannot reach the inner ear.
Remember, even children who are prone to wax build up are far more likely to suffer hearing loss from otitis media with effusion (fluid behind the eardrums) rather than from the wax itself. If you are concerned that your child is not hearing properly, please see your GP or ENT Specialist so that the problem can be investigated.
Usually no treatment is required. Occasionally wax that is completely occluding the ear canals needs to be removed. This should not be done with syringing in children.
Dr Levin has a microscope and soft paediatric wax curettes designed for wax removal in children. This is the safest way to remove wax in children.