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The ear is a very important and sensitive part of the body. Its major function is to detect, transmit and transduce sound to the brain. It also maintains our sense of balance. That is why it is very important to take good care of our ears. Our quality of life will be affected if we lose our hearing or damage our ears. There will be fewer job and educational opportunities, difficulties in communication and emotional problems can take place because of low self-esteem and confidence.We should learn how to take care of our ears. Children need to also be educated about the importance of their ears and how to take care of them. In this article, Dr. Dennis Chua, an ear specialist in Singaporeshares important tips on how to take good care of our children’s ears.
In This Post:
How to Take Care of your Children’s Ears
In my 15 years of medical experience, I was able to encounter different hearing problems and cases of hearing loss in children. I can see in my patients the desire to be able to hear again. The ears play a vital role in the body and we need to take good care of them, especially our children’s ears.
1. Clean Ears Safely
Children’s ear wax is a good thing as long as it is in small quantities. It helps protect the ear canal from bacteria, infection, fungi, and insects. But too much wax can clog the auditory canal or push against the eardrums causing it to puncture and impair your child’s hearing. I advise parents to clean their children’s ears using drops instead of a swab. Using a swab can push the ear wax further inside the ear or worse, it can puncture the eardrum. I usually inform the parents to bring their child to my clinic if there is too much wax that they cannot handle to remove safely.
2. Take a Peek Before Cleaning
Before cleaning your child’s ear, have a look first. Children nowadays are very inquisitive; they put things in their ears out of curiosity. Beads, toys, insects and even food are a few of the stuck things I’ve found in children’s ears. I tell the parents of my patients not to remove them by themselves because it may cause more harm than good and instead ask help from me to remove it. I usually use a kid-sized tweezer in case one of my patients has something stuck in their ears.
3. Clean the Folds Outside the Ears
Toddlers’ ears have many folds that can keep grime. The best way to clean it is during bath time. Using a soft cloth or cotton swab, remove the dirt behind and outside the ears.
4. Watch Out for Infections
Children having ear infections can be alarming because it can lead to hearing loss if not treated right away. Though parents cannot see the infection in the middle ear, I always inform them about the common signs and symptoms of ear infection in their children. Here is a list of common signs and symptoms of ear infection in children:
- Pulling or scratching the ear
- Crying more than usual
- Not responding to sounds or when called by name
- Discharge of fluid from the ear
- Having trouble sleeping
5. Cleaning Ears After Swimming
Children love to swim and they are prone to swimmer’s ear. It is an ear infection from the eardrum up to the outer ear canal. It is caused by water that remains in your ear after swimming. I always advise parents to have their children use earplugs to prevent this from happening as well as to clean the ears gently after swimming. For patients that already have an ear infection, I usually prescribe antibiotic ear drop which they can use after swimming to avoid further infections.
6. Take Precautions During Air Travel
The air pressure increases when flying and can cause pain in the ears. This can sometimes make children cry during a flight. For infants, giving them a pacifier, a milk bottle or breastfeeding them might help. Just make sure the infant is sitting right up when bottle-feeding. For children over 3 years old, you can let the child suck a candy or chew gum. Earplugs can be a big help too.
7. Avoid Loud Noises
Loud noises must be avoided especially for infants and toddlers where their ears are still on the developmental stage. These can cause damage in the ears and may even cause hearing loss. This is why parents must be keen in choosing toys for their children. If a toy has sounds, listen to it first before buying it and don’t buy it if it can get too loud. Volume must also be turned down during screen time. Many parents are asking me if it is ok for their children to use headphones and earbuds. I suggest that if they can prevent their children from using them, the better because these can produce sound levels as loud as 105 to 110 decibels. Children might suffer from hearing loss if they listen to this sound level every day.
8. Good Nutrition
I always tell the parents of my patients to introduce nutritious food to their children’s diet. No food can prevent hearing loss but the chances of developing it will decrease with the right food and diet. Foods that are rich in folic acid, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and omega 3 can help decrease the chances of hearing loss. This includes potatoes, bananas, oranges, beef, pork, chicken, salmon, and yogurt.
Our ears play a vital role in our bodies and everyday lives. We must take good care of them especially our little ones’. It might sound cliché but prevention is always better than cure. If we follow these tips, we can prevent our children from developing hearing problems or hearing loss. Remember, the ears are very sensitive. Do not try anything that can harm your children’s ear, as there is an ear specialist in Singapore that can help you. If you think your child has hearing problems and you need assistance, you can always get in touch with Dr. Dennis Chua, one of the best ear specialists in Singapore.
Dr. Dennis Chua
3 Mount Elizabeth, #08-02 Medical Centre,
+65 6235 3886