Everyone has earwax. The color can normally vary from light yellow to dark brown. Earwax is not dirty or abnormal; in fact it contains natural chemicals that can kill germs. It also keeps dust off the eardrum and protects the lining of the ear canal. The ear canal is designed to clean itself. Earwax is produced in the outer third of the ear canal. Earwax moves outward naturally during chewing and the normal growth of the ear canal's lining. Every day or two, you may notice a little earwax at the opening of the ear canal. If you do nothing, this earwax will fall out on its own.
Unless there is a blockage, it is best to leave earwax alone. If you push the earwax back into the ear, as usually happens when you try to remove the wax from the inside of the ear canal, it becomes more difficult for the wax to come out naturally.
Proceed with this guideline if earwax is completely blocking one of the ear canals and your child can't hear on that side. If the hearing seems normal on that side that means the blockage is only partial and you can leave it alone.
Prevention. Nothing should be put inside the ear canal to try to hurry the earwax process along. Using cotton swabs just ends up packing the wax deeper. Earwax does need any help getting out. Cotton swabs also carry the risk of damaging your child's eardrum if he turns his head suddenly. Tell everyone in your family that the most common cause of earwax buildup is putting cotton swabs into the ear canal. Another common cause is wearing earplugs of any type.
Removing Visible Earwax. In general, leave it alone. On special occasions if earwax is right at the opening of the ear canal and you feel compelled to remove it for cosmetic reasons, flick it out with a little folded piece of paper.
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· Any discharge other than earwax comes from the ear canal.
· Blockage from earwax recurs after you stop using cotton swabs.
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