It’s easy to ignore the ears provided they’re functioning as needed. If your child can hear without any issues and maintain balance, it’s believed that they don’t need regular ear screening, etc.
However, don’t underestimate the importance of proper ear care in your child’s development. Below are ear care tips you can use:
1. Inspect the ears
Try inspecting your child’s ears before you clean them as you might be surprised at what you find in those tiny ears. Kids will always be kids and play with anything they find. This means that you can find objects such as bread crumbs, an insect, or any other strange object lodged in their ears.
However, before you attempt to extract whatever is in the ears, you might want to consult a doctor. The doctor will know how to extract the object without harming the child’s ears.
Also, talk to your kids about the dangers of sticking objects in their ears. If you have to use cotton swabs to clean your ears, ensure that your child doesn’t see. This is because kids pick up on what adults do and try to imitate.
2. Ear piercing care
It’s common to have your child’s ears pierced at a young age but be sure to take the necessary precautions. Ear piercings are not completely void of infections; thus, you need to be careful where you get the piercings done.
Ensure that the piercings are conducted in a safe and sterile environment. If you have to pierce your child’s ears, wait until they are at least 6 months older. An even better option would be to wait until your child has a say in the decision.
Once the ears are pierced, avoid any unnecessary contact except when you’re cleaning them. Avoid swimming pools, hot tubs, lakes, oceans while the piercings are still healing. Stick to the regular cleaning schedules as recommended by the piercer.
Be on the lookout for infections and consult a physician if the signs of infection persist for more than 24 hours.
3. Reduce exposure to loud noises
If your child spends most of their time in an environment where they’re exposed to loud noises consistently, they are at risk of developing hearing loss. With this in mind, limit exposure to loud sounds.
If your children have to use earphones remind them to heed to the warning set by the manufacturers. Most earphones, earbuds, and headphones typically warn you when you increase the volume above the recommended level.
Remind your child to maintain the volume below the warning level and limit usage to just 1 hour a day.
4. Cleaning ears
Earwax is unpleasant, which is why parents prefer to clean it before it becomes too much. However, earwax is beneficial to your ears; thus, you might want to leave it as is, instead of poking your child’s ears with foreign bodies.
Wax doesn’t need to be removed unless it’s hindering your child’s ability to hear or the doctor advises you to clean them. That wax you see in your child’s ears protects the ear canal from insects, water, etc.
Despite being beneficial, the ear wax can clog the ear canal or press against the eardrum. To prevent this, you’ll need to clean your child’s ears. Don’t stick anything into your child’s ears in an attempt to remove the wax. This includes cotton buds as they can puncture the eardrum.
Instead, wipe any of the wax that’s outside the ear canal with a tissue or cloth. Other cleaning alternatives include mineral or baby oil.
5. Hearing screening
Children learn how to speak within the first few years. During this stage, they will pick up on sounds, words and languages from their immediate environment. Their ability to hear also influences their social skills, cognitive and emotional development.
This means that partial hearing loss can affect your child’s overall development. Fortunately, if caught early, you can get remedies for the partial hearing loss. This is possible through regular hearing tests.
In some instances, your child may fail a hearing screening, but it doesn’t mean that they’re experiencing hearing loss. It could be debris, or fluid stuck in the ear, thus compromising their ability to hear. You’ll need to perform the test regularly to ensure that your child doesn’t have hearing loss.
The earlier the hearing loss is diagnosed, the better as you can embark on treatment early. If you’re not sure where to start, Phonak Hearing Care Specialists will help you find an audiologist for your child.
As you’ve learnt by now, ear wax is harmless, and a clean ear isn’t devoid of wax. It plays its part, thus let it be and don’t use cotton buds on your child’s ears. And don’t forget to schedule a hearing screening for your child every few months or years.