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Narrow left ear canal, wax production, scratches after tugging ear, no pain. Normal ?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 2011
Answered : 5140 Questions
My 5month old babies left ear canal looks alot smaller than her right, so much so that i cant see into it. She also has dry wax around it like every other day and she tends to mess with that ear n has scratches where shes tugging it. Its not causing her any pain though, i just thought it seems abit odd. Can you help?
Posted Thu, 12 Apr 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Aashish Raghu 17 minutes later

Thanks for the posting the query.

You have provided with good information, but I would like to know few more things to guide you bette.

Does your child have fever, excessive crying, ear discharge?

There must be excess wax production which may be the reason making the ear canal appear narrower. The other possibility is stenosis of the ear canal which makes it permanently narrower, but treatment exists to make it wider.

There are various causes for this condition but if she is tugging on that ear, it is possible she is having pain/irritation or decreased hearing in that ear.

It would be wise to get her checked by her ENT Surgeon to find out if the narrowing of the ear canal is permanent or due to wax and also to rule out infection. Kindly try to avoid letting her scratch the ear as this can also lead to infections.

You may apply antibiotic ointment under medical supervision if there is any redness, discharge from the scratches. Keep the ears dry and clean very gently. Use soft warm cloth to clean the external ears.

Keep your child on exclusive breast feeding on demand. Avoid giving any top feeding till she is 6 months old, which is when weaning may be started.

I hope I have answered your query. I will be available for your follow up queries.


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Follow-up: Narrow left ear canal, wax production, scratches after tugging ear, no pain. Normal ? 2 hours later
No she doesnt have a fever or crying at all.. She just tends to pull that ear..
Her head is flat on that side aswel.. Could that have anything to do with it?
I didnt no wether to have it checked out by her doctor or not because i read on internet that it can be common for dry wax to be around the outside of the ear canal.
Answered by Dr. Aashish Raghu 7 minutes later

Thanks for replying.

If she is tugging at the ear, in many cases there could be fluid inside the middle ear. It is necessary to get your child examined by the ENT Doctor to rule this out other possible causes like decreased hearing in that ear. Get Audiometry testing as well, if advised.

Head being flat on the side could be related to the pathology which may be associated with narrow ear canal as well. Do get it confirmed by the Doctor and also rule out other possible associated anomalies.

I hope, I have answered your query.

Wishing you good health.

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