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Ripe Cork in Children

Medical expert of the article

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 26.06.2018

Sulfur plug in children is a problem that many parents face. Consider the main causes of pathology, methods of diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

Earwax is a secret that is formed in the ears. It protects the inner ear from dust, bacteria and dirt. Normally, various contaminants settle on sulfur, which becomes denser, dries out and is removed from the auricle. Sulfur cork is formed with increased work of the sebaceous glands and improper care of the ears. Using cotton buds, this is another reason for the cork. They push sulfur into the auditory canal and can provoke an inflammatory process.

In most cases, parents are afraid to damage the ears of a small child and because of this they incorrectly process them. In the external auditory canal there are about 2000 sebaceous glands, which after birth intensively produce sulfur. The auricle and auditory canal are self-cleaning during chewing, so they do not require special care efforts. It is enough to wipe the area of the auricle with a cotton swab or towel. But if the child complains of pain in the ear, then you need to urgently go to the pediatrician and otolaryngologist.

Causes of the sulfuric cork in children

Earwax performs protective and purifying functions, maintains a normal level of humidity and prevents the development of fungal and bacterial infections. The causes of the appearance of sulfur plug in children are most often associated with increased secretion of the sebaceous glands and improper care of the ear. It is a clogging of the secret in the ear canal.

Consider the main causes of pathology:

  • Enhanced sulfur recovery
  • Inadequate or insufficient care of the ears
  • Frequent removal of sulfur
  • Use of cotton buds (poke a secret inside the ear, provoking the appearance of a cork)
  • Dry air in the room provokes sulfur condensation
  • Anatomic features of the structure of the auditory canal (narrowness, sinuosity)
  • The ingress of water into the ear during bathing (sulfur swells and closes the ear canal)
  • Foreign objects in the ear
  • Various diseases: otitis media, eczema, dermatitis, hanging cholesterol
  • Hearing aids and frequent use of headphones

Children congestion is dense or pasty, but eventually it hardens. If during it is not removed, it will increase in diameter and completely cover the ear canal. Because of this, the child has a sensation of noise and obstruction of the ear, hearing is reduced, headaches, nausea, cough, dizziness are possible.



The mechanism of the appearance of sulfuric cork in a child is associated with the work of the sebaceous glands located in the membranous-cartilaginous section of the external auditory canal. Sulfur, that is, the oily liquid that is released covers the skin of the body with a thin layer, protecting it from the effects of external stimuli. Pathogenesis depends on the cause that caused the blockage. Incorrect and frequent removal of surplus sulfur leads to the appearance of traffic jams. In most cases, the secret goes out by itself, during chewing or talking. If its consistency is thicker than normal or the process of separation is broken, then cerumen is formed.

Depending on the consistency of the secret, there are kinds of sulfur plugs:

  • Pasty-like - dark yellow or light color with a soft consistency.
  • Plasticine - dense, brown.
  • Dry - dark brown or black, hard consistency.

Initially, the sulfur plug is soft and loose, but gradually becomes dense and hardens. Along with this pathology, an epidermoid clot from the scraped scales of the stratum corneum can form. It has a light gray color, a stony density and is adjacent to the walls of the ear canal, filling its outer part or the whole.

trusted-source[2], [3], [4], [5]

Symptoms of the sulfuric cork in children

The organ of hearing consists of the outer and inner ear. The first has two departments: cartilaginous (located at the outlet) and bone (located in the depth, near the inner ear). Sulfur is produced in the cartilaginous region, but the epithelium of this region is very mobile. Because of this, the secret is released when chewing or talking, cleaning the outer ear. But because of the violation of the cleaning process, symptoms of sulfur plug appear. In a child, they manifest themselves as follows:

  • Hearing loss
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Paroxysmal cough
  • Noise and ringing in the ears

The Kid constantly asks the above, does not respond to the call. In this case, a feeling of stuffiness of the ears and even the nose may appear. Symptoms of the disorder are acute after bathing, when water, getting into the ear, provokes an increase in the sulfuric clot, which completely closes the auditory canal.

At visual inspection not always it is possible to see the true reason of a condition of the child. Therefore, it is necessary to closely monitor its behavior. At the first symptoms it is necessary to address to the otolaryngologist. The faster the plug is removed, the less the risk of complication. This is due to the fact that in the inner ear there is a vestibular apparatus responsible for the functionality of the organism.

First signs

If a child begins to complain of a bad ear or earache, then this may be the first signs of a sulfur plug. The disorder occurs due to improper care of the hearing organ and frequent bathing, which provokes the swelling of the sulfuric clot.

Signs of pathology:

  • Hearing loss
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

These symptoms are met with otitis, but they can also indicate a sulfur plug. Its presence provokes a violation of the baby's vestibular apparatus. When the first signs of malaise appear, you need to contact an otolaryngologist who will prescribe drugs to treat blockage.

trusted-source[6], [7], [8]

Complications and consequences

Prolonged obstruction of the ear and attempts to cope with this problem alone can cause serious consequences. Lack of medical care is also dangerous, as is self-medication. Incorrectly performed procedure of cleaning the ear canal from the accumulated secret can cause such consequences:

  • Injuries of the tympanic membrane.
  • Inflammation of the external ear.
  • Damage to the epidermis.
  • Infection of the middle ear (occurs when there is a perforation of the tympanic membrane).
  • Allergic reactions to medications used (when used without medical appointment).

The above disorders in most cases are accompanied by fever and chills in the child, headaches, paroxysmal cough. Also, allergic rashes on the skin, hives. Only professional medical care and timely diagnosis of the problem, will avoid unpleasant consequences.

trusted-source[9], [10], [11], [12], [13]


If the sulfur plug is not removed in a timely manner from the child, hearing problems can occur that will cause such complications:

  • Hearing impairment.
  • Chronic rhinitis / otitis media.
  • Bedsores acoustical passage (are treated for a long time and cause severe pain).
  • Inflammatory and infectious processes.

Every parent should know that removing a clot of ear secretion is a guarantee that the child will not have hearing problems or vestibular apparatus disorders. Therefore, at the first signs of pathology, it is necessary to consult a pediatrician and an otolaryngologist.

trusted-source[14], [15]

Diagnostics of the sulfuric cork in children

Constant pain in the ears and complaints of hearing problems can be associated with increased release of sulfur and caused by its blockage, so require medical attention. Diagnosis of sulfuric cork in a child begins with an examination with an otolaryngologist.

Diagnosis consists of:

  • Collection of anamnesis and analysis of patient complaints. The doctor determines the presence of noise in the ear, headaches, nausea, dizziness, degree of hearing loss. How often is the purification of the auricle done, and whether ear wands are used for this.
  • Otoscopy - examination of the external ear canal and tympanic membrane. By the result of the study, a sulfur plug can be detected. In most cases, the clot blocks the passage. Its color from light to dark brown in consistency, it can be dense or soft.

During the examination, a button probe is used. The doctor's task is not only to identify the problem, but also to establish its causes. This will allow you to choose the right method of treatment and eliminate the blockage without any complications.

Differential diagnosis

In the process of examining the child for the presence of sulfur plug in the ear, the doctor's task is to recognize similar diseases. Differential diagnosis begins with the collection of anamnesis, analysis of the general condition of the patient, examination of the auricle. Occlusion with ear secretion is differentiated with such pathologies:

  • Sensoneural hearing loss (occurs with inflammation of the middle ear).
  • Otomycosis.
  • Cholesteatoma.
  • Otitis (external, internal).
  • Mastoiditis (acute inflammation of the mastoid process of the temporal bone).
  • Ménière's disease.
  • Neuritis of the pre-cochlear nerve.
  • Fungal diseases.
  • Foreign body in the auditory canal.

Inspection during otoscopy allows to reveal a clot of ear secretion. The color is from light brown to black. In particularly neglected cases, it can provoke the occurrence of pressure sores. To determine the consistency of the plug, the content is sampled using a button probe. After differential diagnosis, the child is prescribed a course of treatment and recommendations for the prevention of pathology.

trusted-source[16], [17], [18], [19], [20], [21], [22]

Who to contact?

Treatment of the sulfuric cork in children

If the baby complains of ear pain and hearing problems, these complaints may be related to the fact that the auditory canal is closed with a condensed sulfur secret. In this situation, many parents begin to wonder how to remove the sulfur plug from the child. But it is necessary to take into account the fact that any procedures should be carried out in agreement with the attending physician. In addition, different types of plugs require different approaches to removal.

  • Soft clots are removed by washing with warm solutions or electro-aspirate.
  • With a tight stopper, rinsing is contraindicated, since it can provoke swelling, which will lead to a complete blockage of the auditory canal. Treatment is carried out by the ENT with the help of special instruments in the treatment room.

That is, removing the ear plug is not so easy, and if you do it yourself, you can damage the ear canal and cause a lot of problems. Treatment should be handled only by a qualified doctor.

But if it so happens that waiting for a doctor's visit is problematic, then the procedure for removing sulfur is carried out independently. To do this, you need a special drug for washing the external ear canal. For children, use the drug A-Cerumen, which can be purchased at the pharmacy without a prescription. So, to flush the right ear, the baby should be laid on the left side and buried with a sore ear. In this position the child should lie down for 1-2 minutes. After this it is necessary to turn it over and allow the solution to flow out together with the sulfur plug. Also do for the left ear.

When removing sulfuric cork at home, it is strictly contraindicated:

  • Try to pull out a clot with an ear stick.
  • Picking in the ear with tweezers, needles, needles and other objects that can damage the organ.
  • Use alternative medicine without prior consultation with an otolaryngologist.

The above actions can lead to the fact that the sulfur plug enters the inner part of the ear, significantly worsening the situation.

Drops to remove the sulfur plug in children

Many parents face the problem of clogging the ears with a sulfur secret. Various methods are used for treatment (washing, electroaspiration, mechanical removal). Special attention should be paid to medical therapy. Drops to remove sulfur plugs in children allow you to get rid of blockage without the risk of damage to the epidermis or tympanic membrane. In addition, they can be used to prevent its occurrence.

Popular and effective drops for removing sulfuric clot:

  1. A-Cerumen

A topical drug with active substances cleansing the ear canal from earwax and preventing the formation of stoppers. The solution is produced in 2 ml bottles. 100 g of the preparation contains: 20 g of TEA-cocoyl hydrolyzed collagen, 1.5 g of PEG of 120-methylglucosodioleate and additional components.

  • Indications for use: removal and prevention of sulfur plugs, ear hygiene in patients with hearing aids. Suitable for patients who often use devices that attach to the external ear canal (headphones, telephone headsets) that cause increased sulfur production. It is often prescribed for people involved in water sports and working in dusty premises.
  • Method of application: the solution is instilled into the external ear canal, preheated to body temperature. After application, the ear should be closed with cotton for 1-2 minutes, and then allow the fluid to flow out and clean the auditory canal. If sulfur does not come out at a time, then the procedure is repeated for 3-4 days.
  • Side effects are possible with individual intolerance of the components of the drug. In rare cases, hyperemia, itching and rash develops at the site of application. It is contraindicated to use for treatment of patients with perforation of the tympanic membrane, chronic infectious and inflammatory lesions. Overdosing manifests itself in the form of adverse reactions, occurs after the drug is discontinued.
  1. Remo-Wachs

Hygienic means for soft and effective cleansing of the ear passage from various contaminants, softening and excretion of sulfur plugs, prevention of their formation. Produced in the form of a solution in 10 ml vials. It includes substances that accelerate the separation of dead cells: allantoin, benzethonium chloride, phenylethanol, butylhydroxytolene and other components. Penetrants penetrate into the thickness of the sulfuric clot, softening and washing it. The medication does not contain aggressive components or antibiotics, therefore it is allowed to use at any age.

  • Indications for use: removal of sulfur plugs, hygiene of the ear canal, prevention of sulfur and epidermal clots.
  • Contraindications: hypersensitivity to the components of the drug, inflammation or pain in the ears, perforation of the tympanic membrane, shunt in the tympanic membrane and 6-12 months after its removal, purulent and other pathological discharge from the auditory canal.
  • How to use: before the solution is injected into the ear, the bottle must be warmed to body temperature. For the convenience of using the solution, you need to lie on your side, which is opposite to the sick ear. To straighten the ear canal, pull the lobe down and back. Drip 10-20 drops, so that the level of the solution reaches the transition to the auricle. Close your ear with cotton wool and lie in this position for 20-40 minutes. Gently turn over, allow the solution to flow out and clean the ear canal. Drops are not recommended to drip into the center of the ear, as this may cause the formation of an airlock.
  1. Klin-Irs

Effective drug for removing earwax. Active ingredients: plant paraffin and essential little mint. Has an oily structure and pleasant aroma. Suitable for treating patients of any age. Available as a spray and drops of 15 ml and 30 ml. For complete cleansing of the ear and removal of the hardened secret, 3-5 procedures are performed during the week.

  1. Otypax

Combined remedy in the form of ear drops. It has a disinfecting, local anesthetic and anti-inflammatory effect. Produced in a vial of 16 g with a soft pipette. Active components: phenazone 4 g and lidocaine hydrochloride 1 g.

  • Indications for use: inflammation of the middle ear, otitis, sulfur plug and other contaminants. Contraindicated to use with damage to the tympanic membrane and individual intolerance of the components of the drug.
  • Method of application: the solution is instilled in 4 drops 2-3 times a day. To remove the cork, you need 2-3 procedures with ear cleaning with warm water after. In case of an overdose, hypersensitivity reactions occur after the drug is withdrawn.
  1. Aqua Maris Oto

100% isotonic solution of sea water, no preservatives. It is prescribed to prevent the formation of sulfur clots and hygiene of the auditory canal in adults and children. The drug is instilled in the ears 1-2 times a day or 2-3 times a week, depending on the doctor's prescriptions and the results of the first procedure. Contraindicated use in the presence of inflammation and pain, perforation of the tympanic membrane.

Physiotherapeutic treatment

To eliminate otolaryngological diseases, many different methods are used, but physiotherapy treatment deserves special attention. It is based on the use of natural and hardware techniques that accelerate the process of recovery, that is, on the reflex response of the body to the stimulus. Making up the plan for physiotherapy with a sulfur plug in a child, take into account such factors: the stage of pathology and its features, the age of the patient, the general condition of the body and the history of the disease.

  • Most often, patients are flushed with warm water or antiseptic solutions. This allows softening a clot of ear secretions. Before the procedure, a warm soda solution is added to the diseased ear for 10-15 minutes. The rinsing is carried out using a Janet syringe or an ordinary 20 ml. The liquid stream is guided along the back wall of the ear canal, pulling the auricle up and back. The liquid is injected jerkily under a slight pressure. This allows you to remove the blockage for 2-3 exposures. After all manipulations, the ear canal is dried with cotton wool and carefully examined.
  • Another version of physiotherapy is ear candles. This is an effective tool for treating various ENT diseases. They are made from natural components by special technology. Phytospecies anesthetize, have antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory effect. The therapeutic effect arises from vacuum therapy during the burning of a candle. This allows softening and removing the sulfuric clot, facilitates hearing, improves nasal breathing and local microcirculation. They are used under the supervision of a doctor.

The main goal of physiotherapy in the diagnosis of sulfuric plug is the relief of the syndrome and the stabilization of the pathological process.

Alternative treatment

The problem of ear congestion has been known for a long time, so there are many different methods to effectively eliminate it. Alternative treatment refers to the category of non-traditional methods, which can only be used after a doctor's permission.

Consider popular alternative recipes for treating sulfuric cork in children:

  • In the ear, drip 5-7 drops of almond oil and cover with cotton wool. The procedure is best done before bedtime, and in the morning, clear the auditory canal with clean water.
  • Take the bulb, cut off the top, make a small groove and fill it with seeds of dill. Vegetables should be wrapped in foil and baked in the oven until brown juice appears. Another warm juice is instilled into 3-4 drops in the ear, covering it with cotton wool. After 6-8 hours, the sulfuric clot becomes soft and flows out.
  • Put the baby on its side and drip the patient's ear with a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide. In this position, you need to lie for 2-5 minutes, then turn over and clear the auditory canal from sulfur and drug residues. To completely remove the blockage, the procedure should be carried out 2-3 times a day for 3-5 days. To speed up the whole process, after washing under the ear, you can put a warm water bottle and massage your ear.
  • An analogue of modern phyto-candles is a burning waxy funnel. Take a piece of cloth and soak it with wax, as soon as it starts to harden, the fabric needs to be twisted into a tube. One end of the funnel is inserted into the ear, and the other is set on fire. It is very important to observe safety measures: cover the child's head with a dense cloth and make sure that the wax does not get into the eye. In the process of combustion, sulfur is drawn into the tube. For complete purification, 1-3 procedures are performed.

trusted-source[23], [24], [25]

Herbal Treatment

Another unconventional option for eliminating the sulfuric clot in the ear in children is the treatment with herbs. The combination of different plant components will allow to stop the inflammatory process, soften the accumulated secret and withdraw it. Consider several recipes for herbal medicine:

  • 5-10 green poppy heads, pour 100 ml of milk and cook for 30 minutes. As soon as the product cools, it must be filtered and dripped into the ear for 5-7 drops. A couple of these procedures will help pull the cork and remove the inflammation, if any.
  • 20 grams of chopped camel thorns, pour 250 ml of water and boil over low heat for 5 minutes. The broth should be infused for 30-40 minutes, after which it must be filtered. According to the prescription, the medicine is taken orally ½ cup 2-3 times a day.
  • Take in equal proportions the bark of an oak, a rhizome of a cinquefoil erect and aira, thyme. Stir all the ingredients, wrap in a tissue flap or handkerchief and dip into boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Such a herbal remedy is used as a poultice 3-4 times a day to improve the hearing and soften the ear secretion.
  • Leaves fresh basil or walnut in a gruel and squeeze through gauze. The resulting juice should be dripped into the sore ear. Therapy is carried out 2-3 times a day. The medicine helps not only with sulfuric plug, but also with severe inflammation, otitis.


An alternative course in medicine is homeopathy, which aims to eliminate pathology with drugs that cause symptoms of the patient's underlying illness. To apply homeopathic medicines it is possible only on medical appointment. The homeopath selects the remedy, its dosage and duration of application.

Consider medicines that can be used for children:

  • Aconite hood - is used in the early stages of ear diseases, relieves pain, providing a normal sleep. Eliminates the symptoms of spasmodic cough, nasal congestion and thirst.
  • Belladonna - helps with severe pain in the ears, it stops inflammatory syndrome and fever. Most often it is prescribed to children with reddened and inflamed eardrum. Relieves pulsating pain, colic, discomfort in the throat.
  • Ferrum phosphoricum - improves the flow of oxygen to damaged tissues, activating the protective functions of the body. It is used in the first studios of ear diseases, as it quickly removes painful symptoms.
  • Magnesia phosphoricum - used to relieve the symptoms of inflammation of the middle ear.
  • Verbaskum - Mullein oil is applied topically, that is, it is buried in the diseased ear. Eliminates the feeling of stuffiness, removes sulfur and skin plugs. It is not recommended to use in the presence of pathological bloody or purulent discharge from the auditory canal.

The dosage of the above drugs depends on the severity of the symptoms and is selected by the doctor, individually for each patient. Typically, the treatment lasts for 3-5 days, if during this period there is no improvement, then another drug is prescribed.

Operative treatment

The method of removing the sulfur plug depends on its type and consistency. A child can have a soft, dry, hard or stony sulfur bunch. Operative treatment is aimed at its removal without any damage to the auditory canal or tympanic membrane. Preliminarily, the plug should be softened with an antiseptic solution or with such special preparations (A-cerumen, Remo-vax, Debrox). Excretion is carried out with a syringe, which feeds a stream of water directed into the ear.

If the baby has perforated otitis, then no rinsing is performed, as there is a risk of perforation of the tympanic membrane and complete loss of hearing. The clot of the ear secretion is removed with the help of a special instrument - a hook probe, that is, a dry method.

More information of the treatment


The key to successful treatment of any disease lies in preventing its appearance. Prevention of sulfuric cork in a child is based on the following rules:

  • Timely diagnosis and therapy of any ear pathology.
  • Regular examinations at the otolaryngologist, especially with a tendency to increased production of sulfur.
  • Proper hygiene of the ear canal.

It is necessary to understand that the ears are a self-cleaning organ, and sulfur is a protective lubricant. The secret is derived from the ear by the natural mechanism of purification. Hygiene should be limited to washing the initial part of the ear canal and auricle. It is possible to remove only the sulfur that accumulates at the entrance to the ear without penetrating into the interior.

To prevent sulfur plug in the child, parents should perform mechanical cleaning of the external ear canal once a week. Use cotton swabs is prohibited, because with their deep penetration into the ear, you can damage the tympanic membrane. Also, you can not use a variety of sharp objects, trying to pull a sulfuric clot. This significantly increases the risk of serious injuries.

trusted-source[26], [27], [28]


The success of treating the clogging of the ear with a sulfur secret depends on the early diagnosis of pathology. The prognosis in most cases is positive, because immediately after the procedure the child restores hearing and discomfort disappears. If there were attempts to get a clot independently with the help of improvised tools or cotton buds, then, most likely this led to a traumatizing of the tympanic membrane. In this case, the prognosis worsens, since there is a risk of hearing loss.

Negative outcome is possible with unreasonable and incorrect application of drugs that soften sulfur. Only the therapy prescribed by the doctor will allow painless removal of the blockage and restore the patient's normal health and hearing.

Sulfur cork in a child has properties to recur. That is, after the first procedure for its removal, there are no guarantees that it will not form again. To prevent the disease, you must visit the otolaryngologist at least once every 6 months.

trusted-source[29], [30], [31]

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