About ear pulling or ear tugging in children
If your baby or young child is pulling at their ears, it might be a sign that they're tired or that their ears are blocked with ear wax.
Teething is often blamed for ear pulling, but it isn’t clear whether there’s a link between teething and pulling.
Does your child need to see a doctor about ear pulling?
You should take your child to the GP if your child:
- shows signs of an ear infection
- is unwell and has a fever for no apparent reason
- might have put something in their ear.
Treatment for ear pulling
Ear pulling or tugging usually isn’t anything to worry about.
If you think your child is pulling their ears because they're tired, you could try settling your child for sleep, or giving your child some quiet time.
To get rid of a build-up of ear wax, you could try ear drops that you can buy from your pharmacy. You can also use a few drops of olive oil.
If your child has an ear infection, they might need antibiotics. Your GP will talk about this with you.
If you think your child is in pain from teething, you could try giving your child paracetamol in recommended doses.
Don’t try to clean your child’s ears with things like cotton tips. This can cause damage to the ear canal or drum.