Should you need urgent health advice please contact your GP or call NHS 111. In an emergency please visit A&E or call 999

We offer tailored content specific to your area. Check below to find your local area.

Choose your location for articles and services where your live:

Caring for your child’s ears

Babies and young children often produce lots of earwax and this is nothing to worry about. Ears clean and protect themselves and earwax plays a big part in this by:

  • Repelling water
  • Stopping the ear canal from becoming dry and itchy
  • Protecting the ear from infection
  • Trapping dust and germs so they don’t reach the eardrum

Earwax can build up in the ear canal, as it dries and moves outwards it brings trapped dust with it. It then usually falls out on its own, which you may notice from time to time. You should never poke anything into the ear canal, including cotton buds, as this can:

  • Push earwax down into the ear, interrupting the natural cleaning process and risking a blockage
  • Injure your child’s delicate skin
  • Create a hole in the eardrum

If you’re washing the outside of your child’s ears, use cotton-wool balls or a flannel dampened with water. Don’t use soap and remember to leave the insides of the ears alone.

A blocked ear may cause ringing, earache and make hearing difficult. Talk to a pharmacist if you think your child’s ears might be blocked, don’t attempt to remove the wax yourself. If your child has ear pain that isn’t likely to be caused by a build up of earwax, speak to a pharmacist, GP or NHS 111.

Useful links

NHS – Earwax build-up

Page last reviewed: 28-09-2022

Next review due: 28-09-2025