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Excess Ear Wax Could Lead to Developmental Problems

by April Maguire

Every parent is concerned about the development of his or her child. While developmental milestones can be delayed for any number of reasons, problems in hearing and speech are often due to one very simple reason: earwax.

According to experts, a buildup of earwax can result in a 5% to 15% loss in a child’s hearing. Although those numbers may not sound significant, even a slight decrease in hearing can cause problems in speech and noticeably hamper communication skills. If you’ve noticed that your child has difficulty hearing, talks loudly, is unable to enunciate words or has a hard time paying attention either at home or in school, you may want to consider the following tips and recommendations.

How to Properly Clean Ears

For most people who suffer from earwax buildup, their go-to tool to clean it out is a cotton swab. But according to ENT specialists, cotton swabs actually cause more harm than good. Using a cotton swab inside your child’s ear may remove a small percentage of wax, but it pushes the bulk of the wax down deeper into the ear canal, causing it to impact. This impaction can actually dampen your child’s hearing more and lead to other complications. Additionally, doctors don’t recommend cleaning children’s ears out with soap, as it can get trapped inside the ear and lead to infection.

When it comes to cleaning your child’s ears, the best course of action is to gently wipe the outside of the ear canal with a cloth. If you feel that a more strenuous cleaning is needed, then you should take your child to see the doctor, preferably an ENT specialist.

Complications Arising From Ear Wax

If excess earwax is not regularly removed from your child’s ears, then the ensuing hearing loss can cause developmental issues. Children who suffer from hearing loss may have difficulty picking up communication skills, interacting with other children and performing in school.

According to doctors, a high percentage of speech problems are causing by excessive earwax as well. Children learn to speak by mimicking the words that they hear, so if their hearing is impaired, it could limit their ability to verbally express themselves at an age-appropriate level.

Earwax-induced developmental problems aren’t uncommon. By some estimates, 80% of children have enough earwax buildup to affect their development. For more information on this issue, be sure and check with your family doctor.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hearing loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!

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