As a parent, you have a pretty good idea when something isn't right with your child. You get good at spotting signs that they aren't feeling 100%. However, sometimes, your child may seem well but acts in an unusual way that makes you think they have a problem. For example, if your child starts tugging at one of their ear lobes, then you might wonder if they have a problem with that ear.
Why is your child pulling their ear and what should you do about it?
Why Kids Pull Their Ears
Younger children often touch parts of their body for no good reason. This may happen when they find something for the first time—like an earlobe—and they want to investigate it. Some kids have an ear-tugging habit. They may get comfort from pulling on their ear.
From a medical standpoint, children often tug at their earlobes if their ear is giving them problems. Pulling down on the lobe can relieve itchiness, pressure or pain. For example, your child's ear may be itchy or sore. This can be caused by a lack of ear wax that is making the ear dry; too much ear wax can also make the ear feel blocked. Your child may also have a viral or bacterial ear infection.
How to Deal with Ear Pulling
Ear pulling isn't necessarily a sign of a medical problem or of an issue that needs treatment. If your child doesn't show any other symptoms, then you could just keep an eye on them for a few days and see if they stop pulling their ear lobe. However, if your child has other symptoms or if the ear-pulling doesn't stop on its own, then you should take your child to your GP. They may have an ear infection that needs treatment.
If your child has a viral infection, then your doctor may prescribe ear drops to relieve discomfort and itching. If they have a bacterial infection, then your child may need antibiotics. You can generally tell the difference between these two infections by looking for other symptoms. For example, if your child has a higher temperature than usual and appears to be in pain, then they may more likely to have a bacterial infection.
It's important to treat these infections quickly; they can lead to burst eardrums if the infection isn't brought under control. So to be on the safe side, make an appointment with your GP.