Baby Tugging at Ear: Causes and Treatments
Published March 6, 2023
Your child is continuously developing and discovering new things, and it may feel as if you are always playing catch-up while trying to ensure that everything is fine. Obviously, you will be alarmed if you suddenly observe your baby pulling on ear.
As long as it is not accompanied by crying, discomfort, or other symptoms, ear tugging in children younger than 2 or 3 years old is a perfectly natural behavior. Your baby may be tugging on their ears because:
Baby Tugging at Ear: Causes
A baby or young toddler who pulls at their ears may be tired or simply interested in exploring these unfamiliar parts of their body. For instance, as your baby grows, it may have recently discovered its ears, and your baby grabbing ear is learning how to use its hands.
Meanwhile, some babies relax by sucking on their thumbs or pacifiers, while others touch their ears. On the other hand, soap and other irritants can become stuck in the ear canal and may cause itching.
The most common cause of ear pulling in older children is a buildup of earwax, which happens when their guardians use cotton swabs to clean their baby’s ears, which actually push the earwax further back. Teething is also a likely cause of a toddler’s ear tugging, as it can sometimes resemble an ear infection, and your child may be uncomfortable about it. However, it is unclear whether teething and pulling are related.
Pain from an ear infection is a common cause for babies to tug at their ears, but in most cases, you may also notice other symptoms of illness in your baby, such as excessive crying, irritability, fever, or signs of a cold or flu.
Baby Tugging at Ear: Treatments
The eardrum separates the ear canal from the middle ear, preventing water from entering your baby’s middle ear while you bathe them. So, if your child gets water in their ear, it will not be dangerous; however, it can be uncomfortable.
If a buildup of earwax is the cause of your baby’s ear condition, you can remedy it at home with warm mineral oil. The earwax can be softened by placing a couple of drops in the ear twice daily for five days. When the earwax is loose, a warm shower is typically required to remove it. Direct the warm water into your child’s ear, and then tilt the head to allow the earwax to drain out.
While most ear infections go away without treatment, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat the ear infection. Children from 0 to 6 months are, most of the time, given an antibiotic. However, antibiotics may be unnecessary if your child is over 6 months old and only has mild symptoms. In addition, your doctor may recommend medicines to help with fever or pain.
Placing a warm towel on the affected ear can help minimize the pain. Resting, on the other hand, can help your child’s body to fight the infection. If your child’s doctor prescribed antibiotics, give them as prescribed, and seek medical help if the symptoms worsen.
Check Your Baby’s Actions
If your child’s doctor has prescribed antibiotics, give them. If your child has no other symptoms besides ear tugging, looks happy and attentive, and the ear pulling does not appear painful, your baby could be alright. Some children like ear tugging because it is comforting.
You can record in a journal or on a calendar when your baby tugging at ear happened and what you believe may have caused it. Ear tugging is a typical child activity; nevertheless, seek immediate medical attention if your child seems to have difficulty.
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This Content Has Been Reviewed For Factual Accuracy
About The Author
Krizzia Paolyn has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She started her career as a content writer for various digital magazines and renowned publications. It has always been her passion to share her voice, and at the same time, to encourage other people to speak up.