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Posted by lb85
21/09/20 06:46 AM

I need some advice for my 4 year old boy who wears hearing aids with severe hearing loss and has significant build up of ear wax which is now impacting his hearing. In the summer we went to get him new moulds in audiology but his ear wax was too severe for them to take impressions (despite us using regular sodium bicarbonate drops leading up to the appointment as recommended). He was referred to ENT for the removal of the ear wax but has developed a serious phobia of the procedure. He wouldn't keep still enough and even with restraint it wasn't safe to perform the ear wax removal procedure. Ideally we need to sedate him for the procedure but this service isn't available due to Covid and the need for an on call anaethetist. We're using sodium bicarbonate drops at night while he's sleeping (he won't tolerate in the day) but he tends to turn his head as soon as we put in. I bought an otoscope and can see there's still a huge amount of wax and over the weekend he's telling me his aids aren't working (I've checked and they are) so I think the wax is now completely obstructing the ear drum. We're desperate to remove the ear wax - does anyone have any safe solutions to home ear wax removal. the olive oil and sodium bicarbonate drops don't seems to be doing the trick. Also any ideas how we can get our child to sit through an ENT procedure? 

Posted by Jenny ndcs moderator
21/09/20 04:05 PM

Hi lb85,

Thank you for starting this thread and sharing your experience with the community. I’m sorry to hear about the issues you have had relating to your sons hearing loss and the build-up of ear wax. It sounds as though he has been going through a difficult time with it all.

For personalised advice you can contact our Helpline team who can provide information and advice relating to your concerns. They can also put you in contact with our in-house audiologist if more specialist advice is needed.

Hopefully we do also have some members who will be able to share their experiences with you.

Take care,

Your Community moderator team

Posted by tipper
23/09/20 10:53 AM

Hiya, my son is 5 and has always had a build up of wax. I always use baby oil to keep it soft. The ear care nurse said that it's slightly better than olive oil as it's not as thick and would penetrate the wax better.  No idea if that's accurate or not but anything is worth a try. Daniel's ear canals have now grown to the point where he doesn't get as many blockages but we still go regularly to have it removed. Really hope you get something sorted xx

Posted by curlymoptop
23/09/20 12:43 PM

Hi there

Yes, I remember those days. The drops, the oil. The suction, which my son hated, and being told that impressions couldn't be done because of the build-up.

It was during one of his audiology appointments that I mentioned that I had trouble inserting his hearing aids sometimes. Not my son resisting, it was just like they were sticking. Our audiologist recommended smearing the moulds with vaseline first, to act as a lubricant. This I did, and it really helped.  At the next mould impression appointment, she checked his ears and said "ooh, nice clear ears today" and I nearly fell off my chair!  The impressions were done, and for the next few visits, his ears were still clear.  Unheard of!

It wasn't until I was watching Nina and the Neurons sometime later on CBeebies that I put two and two together. She was explaining the role of ear wax. I just thought it was to trap foreign bodies, but it turns out that the skin inside our ears is the dryest of anywhere on our bodies and we can't moisurise it like we can do on our face, arms etc. Wax is produced to moisurise that skin.  So, I'm thinking, the vaseline is possibly being transferred from the moulds to the skin in his ears, thus moisurising it and limiting the amount of wax that needs to be produced. It's only a theory, but it's worked for the past 13 years! He's never had to have oil, drops, suction ever again, and he's never had an ear infection either.

This advice won't help with getting rid of what's already there, but do try the vaseline, if you are not already using it.

Posted by mumof3
23/09/20 02:24 PM

We had lots of problems with ear wax over lockdown and I had no faith that olive oil would work until someone suggested warming it up (I put it in a mug of hot water for 5 mins before testing it on my wrist). Putting it in warm at night seemed to shift it almost immediately and has worked again in the last week when the build up has become a problem again. 
Worth a try as it seemed to make all the difference to us!

Posted by corkgirl
23/09/20 10:32 PM

I feel your pain! My now 8yo was like this but we just got through it by promising ice cream, giving her YouTube to watch and me holding her on my lap - really tightly! She did scream the place down, so much so that everyone looked at us when we came out. But we gave her ice cream after, lots and lots of praise and then made sure we kept on top of it in future. We got into a regular, recurring ENT appointments, used sodium bicarbonate drops for the few days before every appointment and it hasn't been an issue since. Good luck with whatever you end up trying

Posted by Catriona ndcs moderator
24/09/20 01:37 PM

Hi all

Thanks for everyone’s comments so far and sharing experiences of what has worked for your children. Before trying any at home treatments we’d always suggest talking to a medical professional to make sure it is safe for your child.

Ear wax build up can cause problems for lots of children and particularly when they also have a hearing loss and use hearing aids. Ear wax is a natural bodily secretion and its function is to protect the skin of the ear canal as well as having a cleaning and lubricating function. It also helps to prevent dirt and bacteria from entering the ears. Hearing aids themselves can contribute to the problem as they prevent the wax from coming out on its own and can cause it to impact and block the ear canal.

Our in-house audiologist has read through the suggestions so far and shared some thoughts which will hopefully be useful.

A small bit of Vaseline on an ear mould does assist with its insertion and it can be used on cotton wool to prevent water getting in the ear. Audiologists wouldn’t encouraged continually putting Vaseline in a child’s ear. While both Vaseline and ear wax can work as moisturisers for the ear, they don’t share the same properties and you don’t want to discourage wax production in its normal state completely.

Olive oil or soda bicarb drops are mostly suggested by GPs and/or ENT. We’ve not come across baby oil being advised before. It isn’t generally advised to warm the oil as there is a risk of burning the child’s ear if it got too hot. It is good you are always testing the temperature on your wrist first – make sure you don’t burn your wrist either!

If you’d like to be put in touch with our in-house audiologist for personalised advice please contact our Helpline team who can arrange this.

In the meantime you and your children might appreciate this story for our last children’s book competition by Dylan, which features a waxy monster. 

Take care


Your Community moderation team