There are a number of steps that should be taken to care for the ear health of your child. Hearing is one of the most important senses as it is responsible for the development of language, speech and communication skills. Below are some pediatric ear health tips that will ensure your child’s ears remain clean and healthy.
Cleaning the ears
Only the outer ear of the child should be cleaned. It should be wiped gently using either tissue or a washcloth. Nothing should be inserted into the ear, including cotton swabs, bobby pins or any sharp objects, as they can damage the eardrum and ear canal. It is important to understand that earwax is the substance that the ear uses to clean itself. If your child develops a collection of ear wax which prevents them from hearing, it should be removed with mineral oil.
A child that is experiencing aches or itching within their ears should be taken to a doctor. This way they can determine the proper treatment, and whether or not the child should visit a specialist. Rubbing alcohol can be used to clean the earrings and the earlobes of children who have pierced ears.
Sickness and medications
There are some ailments which interfere with a child’s ability to hear. A child that experiences hearing loss or who hears persistent noise in their ears should be taken to a doctor as soon as possible. Any leakage of fluid from the ear is abnormal, and is typically an indication of an infection. Some medications will interfere with a child’s ability to hear, and should only be administered as instructed. Additionally, parents should consult their pediatrician if their child is taking a medication which causes hearing issues.
Children should always wear a helmet whenever they are engaged in the following activities, as this protects both their head and ears:
- Bicycling or skiing
- Using a skateboard or rollerblading
- Sports such as football or baseball
- Martial arts or boxing
When your child swims, they should learn proper techniques that can protect their ears from damage as a result of a change in pressure. Special earplugs with filters can be worn during flights to balance air pressure within the ears.
General ear care
Parents should have their child’s ears inspected regularly. Their hearing should be evaluated by an audiologist, and whenever they are outdoors or at the beach, sunscreen should be applied to their ears (external ear only).
Parents should also watch for signs of hearing problems in their children. Some of these warning signs include difficulty understanding conversations, turning up the television louder than usual and difficulties in school. Parents should also monitor the noise levels within their home. Children shouldn’t be allowed to play music which is too noisy. This also goes for movies and video games. If you think the sound is too loud then that means it probably is. The ear buds which are used with devices like iPods or MP3 players will not protect your child’s hearing, that’s why sound should always be kept at a comfortable level.