When to See an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist for Black Earwax in Child

Your child’s ears, just like yours, naturally produce earwax to protect and clean themselves. The earwax, in this case, is secreted by skin glands lining the outer half of the ear canals.

Earwax is helped by tiny hairs in the ear passages to trap foreign objects, including dust that may cause damage to fragile deeper structures inside your ears like the eardrum. The earwax can have various colors, including black or dark brown, which are naturally not causes for concern.

There are, however, instances when the earwax color may make it necessary to see an ear, nose throat specialist. Singapore is recognized for its world-class healthcare system and skilled organ doctors, so it is a good region to base your search for an ENT doctor to examine your child’s ears and recommend treatments if necessary.

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What color should your Earwax be?


To know the natural color of the earwax, it would help if you first understand the earwax composition. Now, the earwax is made up of oil and sweat.

This mixture also contains dead skin cells and dirt. Its sticky nature ensures that it collects even microscopic debris that gets into the ear canal. Finally it has a unique smell which helps repel insects and bugs from your ears.

The colors of earwax vary depending on age and other factors like your health. To begin with, your child’s earwax should be yellow, light brown, or orange.

This is so because children usually have lighter-colored and softer earwax. You may need to book an appointment with an ear, nose and throat specialist if your child’s earwax is dark brown and tinged with red as it may indicate bleeding due to injury in the inner ear or an infection.

Your child’s earwax may also be black, which is normal in most cases. It may indicate wax buildup, if the ears do not naturally remove earwax with the frequency which they should be removed.

Your child’s earwax may also be black when the earwax is prevented from exiting the ears due to foreign objects blocking the ear canal. Perfect examples of foreign objects that may cause this include hearing aids and even earbuds which may push the earwax back into the ear canal.

This would cause earwax buildup, which may harden, causing them to turn black. This type of earwax is known as impacted earwax.

Allowing your child to use cotton buds to clean his/her ears may not be a wise idea. Similarly, it may also not be a good idea for you to clean your child’s ears.

In as much as using the cotton buds may look appealing and perfectly fitting for cleaning the ears, it is not safe. The cotton buds may only push the earwax deep into your child’s ear canals, thereby impacting the earwax.

The impacted earwax may, with time, harden and turn black or dark. In extreme cases, this earwax may also lead to other symptoms like dizziness, ear pain, impaired balance, and even hearing loss.

With that being said, your child’s earwax should be lighter in color but may also get black if they take long to be removed from the ear canal. You should see an ear nose throat specialist if the earwax is black and comes with any of these symptoms.

  • Pain: Impacted earwax may block the ear, thus causing pain. This block may also cause hearing complications.
  • Discharge: Ear discharge is medically known as otorrhea. In normal cases, your child’s ear should be discharging earwax as it cleans itself. Discharging black earwax may be a cause of concern if it is bloody or if the child gets the discharge for more than five days, if it comes with fever, or if the ear is also swollen, among other defects. Chances are there; the child could be dealing with ear complications such as trauma to the ear, a middle ear infection, or a medical condition known as a swimmer’s ear. An ear, nose throat specialist for babies will examine the child’s ears and recommend treatments if necessary.
  • Dizziness: If your baby has black earwax and struggles with dizzy sensations, chances are there the earwax has built up to more than the ideal levels or most of it has been pushed back against the eardrum, thereby interfering with signals relayed to the brain from the ears. This may cause the child to struggle with dizziness.

How do you get rid of Black Ear Wax for Babies?

The conventional ways for removing black earwax include at home include the use of ear drops which you will need to use as prescribed by your ear nose throat specialist. You may also benefit from ear irrigation which would involve using a bulb syringe and warm water.

In a situation where your child is struggling with earwax buildup, these treatments may not be easy for you to administer to the child, implying that you will certainly, need the help of a fully-qualified ear nose throat specialist for children.

Here is a quick summary of the common treatment options that your ENT specialist may recommend for the child;

Earwax Removal

There are special medical-grade instruments that the ENT doctor will use to examine your child’s ears and remove earwax. In this case, they will use small, spoon-shaped medical equipment known as the curette to remove the earwax.

The curette is effective in removing the earwax and ensures that none of the earwax will be impacted in the ear. It works by scraping off the wax from the ear canal.


Suction is another common earwax removal option that the ear nose throat specialist may recommend for your youngster. It involves using a special medical instrument for vacuuming or suctioning the earwax from the baby’s ear canal.

Ear Irrigation

Just as the name suggests, ear irrigation involves the use of water or water with a saline mixture to irrigate the ear. This approach works by softening the earwax, so it is easy to flush them out.

You can help your child prevent earwax buildup in the future by ensuring that they do not insert any objects in their ears. This would mean discouraging the use of earbuds and even cotton buds at home. Similarly, you may also need to leave the earwax to drop off on their own, as using the cotton swabs to clean the child’s ears may only force them deeper into his/her ear canal.

Get Help

Don’t wait until it’s too late. If your child’s earwax appearance is bothering you, call an ENT specialist for kids near you to have the child’s ears examined.

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