Cleaning a baby’s ears: advice from a specialist

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Cleaning a baby's ears: advice from a specialist

The expert: Doctor Amine Harichane, pediatric ENT surgeon

One of the first concerns of a parent is to take care of his child and his toilet. Cleaning the ears in particular can sometimes scare them, for fear of hurting their offspring. The advice of Dr. Amine Harichane, pediatric ENT surgeon in Paris, to tackle it without fear.

How to clean the outer part of the ear: with a cotton swab or saline solution

To clean a child’s ears, you must first distinguish between the two parts: the outer ear or pavilion and the inner part, which is the auditory canal. For the external part, the use of a Cotton swab may be possible. We can take advantage of the moment after the bath, when the ears are wet to make the task easier. If it is during a simple toilet in an infant, we can use cotton wool, moistened with a little saline solution. “We must then clean what is visible in the outer ear”, explains the specialist.

How do you clean the inside of a baby’s ears? Should earwax be removed?

For the inner ear, the hairs inside are made to push impurities out of the ear,” details Dr. Harichane. Forget about cotton swabsor any other object to clean the inside of your child’s ear, which will only serve to push impurities towards the ear canal, and due to accumulation, will create an earwax plug. “ Some people use scrapers, it is dangerous, because there is a risk of injuring the child and creating a wound that can become infected in the long term”.

What is earwax? What are the bristles for?

Sometimes wrongly named “ear wax”Where “human wax”earwax plays an essential role for the ear: cleaning, protecting and lubricating the ear canal. “In the ears of a child, there are hairs and cerumen, this yellowish substance that protects the auditory canal. Earwax is used to lubricate the ear and protect it from external aggressions, such as bacteria and fungi. It is not dirty, contrary to popular belief,” explains Dr. Harichane. As for the bristles, their role is to filter small dirt and dust that could enter the ear canal. In children, it is rather a fine down.

When should baby’s ears be cleaned?

Bath time is ideal for cleaning baby’s ears. Just soap his ears in the shower, like the rest of the body and rinse, without leaning his head, to introduce water into the ear. Dry the ears with a towel, for the outside. The water that is inside will be attracted by capillarity, and that’s all “, says the specialist. In case of pain, do not put anything in the ear, neither olive oil nor any other liquid, as this can lead to a risk of secondary infection.

Cérulyse, Stérimar, Audispray… Are ear sprays recommended for infants? At what age ?

Ear sprays aren’t helpful, according to Dr. Harichane. In addition to being expensive, they are not reimbursed by Social Security, proof that they have no real use for infants. On the contrary, they can even end up packing the earwax and make it more difficult to evacuateeventually ». In the event of an ear plug, the pediatrician can help remove the earwax from the baby’s ear, at his office. He will also do it to better see the eardrums, during a consultation. “It succeeds in more than two thirds of cases, the rest of the time we intervene”, explains Pediatric ENT.

When to suspect the presence of an earplug?

The child, up to 18 months, frequently plays with his ears, and this is normal. Beyond that, if he touches his ear or scratches it repeatedly, it is better to consult. In the case of a plug, the diagnosis arises if the child has one-sided pain in the ear after a shower or bath. In this case, it may be a cork that got wet. and which swelled, causing pain”, details the specialist. It is then necessary to consult so that the pediatrician removes it.

If your child has a plug, do not touch his ear yourself, at the risk of injuring him. You have to take him to see a doctor or a pediatrician so that he can remove the cork. The operation is simple, it is carried out in the office. All it takes is a jet of pressurized water, propelled by a pear, to evacuate the cork, which is collected in a container. You can also use a vacuum cleaner, which you will introduce gently into the ear and which will suck up the plug. Sometimes pediatricians or ENT doctors use a small curette to scrape out the earwax and remove it. The child must remain very still, the operation only lasts a few minutes”, summarizes Dr. Harichane.

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