Whether your child is prone to ear infections or not, understanding and caring for your child’s ears is part of being a parent. Ear infections can pop up at any time, and sometimes go unnoticed until the middle of the night, when your child wakes in pain. Additionally, kids have sensitive ears, making travel and loud concerts a more intense experience for families.
Keep reading to learn more about ear health and infections, as well as how you can naturally keep your child’s ears healthy and clear.
Understanding Your Child’s Ears
Your child’s ear consists of three main parts – the the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear, all of which can be examined using an otoscope. The outer ear consists of everything we see on the outside as well as the ear canal, which extends from the opening to the ear to the eardrum.
The middle ear is the space between the eardrum. The inner ear and consists of three small bones called the malleus, incus, and stapes, which are surrounded by air in order to transmit sound vibrations to the inner ear.
Finally, the inner ear consists of the labyrinth and the cochlea which helps with balance and converts sound vibrations into signals which can be understood by the brain.
Children are more prone to ear infections and issues, because their ears are not fully developed and their eustachian tubes (found in the middle ear) are small and flat, making them prone to blockages and harder to drain. This is also why many ear infections become worse at night, when children are laying flat to sleep. Some signs of an ear infection include: tugging or pulling on the ears, complaining of ear pain, fever, fussiness or trouble sleeping.
The Dangers of Noisy Environments
If your kids are regularly in noisy environments like school gyms or concerts, you may want to consider ear protection. Over time, this noise exposure can lead to hearing loss which doesn’t always show itself until it’s too late. It’s a smart idea to keep a few pairs of hearing protectors to muffle loud noise, keep kids calm, and maintain healthy hearing.
Natural Ear Care Products
Many ear infections don’t require antibiotics, and fewer pediatricians are prescribing medication for ear infections to protect children’s guts from the overuse of antibiotics. Here are some natural, child-safe products designed to support healthy ears and hearing.
Essential oils can be helpful in soothing painful or congested ears and it’s a good idea to keep something on hand to help with surprise, midnight ear pain. Ear Ease from KidSafe by Plant Therapy contains a pre-diluted essential oil blend designed to help relieve discomfort in the ear.
Garlic oil has been shown to be beneficial in children with middle ear infections and can be easily made on the stovetop by infusing raw garlic into olive oil. However, this home remedy is not shelf stable and must be re-prepared daily. Mullein Garlic Ear Oil from Herb Pharm is a shelf-stable garlic oil product which is ready to go the moment an ear infection arises.
When an earache strikes in your family, you need to relieve the pain quickly. Ear Drops from Progressive Laboratories is all-natural product that may provide relief from ear discomfort using a blend of garlic and olive oils, chamomile, calendula, and aloe vera.
How do you support healthy ears in your family? Share your favorite products and best practices with us in the comments section below.