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Baby Ear Smell: Wary for Ear Infection Symptoms

Children have an imperfect immune system and are still developing. Naturally, if this makes the child more easily fall ill. One disease that is prone to occur in children is ear infection. This condition usually occurs when a child has a cold or flu.

Mother, do not ignore the unpleasant smell that arises from the ear of the Little One, because the baby's ears smell can be a symptom of ear infections, you know! But do not worry, you can do home care to deal with it.

Basically, earwax is the body's natural way to protect the ear from the entry of germs, and foreign objects such as dust that have the potential to infect the eardrum. Another case if the baby's ear smells and is accompanied by white or yellowish liquid, it becomes a sign that the little ear has an infection.

Signs and Symptoms of Ear Infection

The main cause of smelly baby ears is middle ear infection (otitis media). This condition occurs because of inflammation in the middle ear which causes a buildup of fluid behind the eardrum and then becomes infected. This ear infection can be caused by bacteria or viruses.

In addition to smelly baby ears, here are the signs and symptoms of ear infections in the Little One that you can recognize:

Ear pain

Inflammation of the ear by bacteria causes swelling and pain in the ear. This is the main symptom of ear infections. For children who have not been able to talk, usually will continue to fuss and tug at his ears because of illness. But for children who can talk, they will complain of pain in the ear.

Yellowish white discharge

The eustachian tube in the ear does produce an unpleasant odor. This can be smelled when you clean earwax in children. But when an ear infection occurs, the stench can smell even though it's not being cleaned. This becomes the initial sign of abnormal fluid in the ear.

Loss of appetite

The inflamed eustachian tube causes pain in the ear and can affect the child's appetite. Movement to chew and swallow food causes high pressure on the ear so that pain arises. This is why the child's appetite is reduced.

Hard to sleep

The lying position makes the ear infection more painful, so the baby becomes difficult to sleep.


Like infectious diseases in general, ear infections in infants and children can also cause fever. Fever is the body's immune response to fighting infection.

Hearing difficulties and body imbalance problems

Fluid accumulation in the middle ear can interfere with hearing. If the infection has spread to the inner ear, there will be a disruption of the body's balance, which is usually seen in children who are able to walk, that is, from an unstable way of walking

Ways to Overcome Odor Baby Ears Due to Infection

Baby's ears smell because bacterial infections can be overcome by giving antibiotics according to the doctor's prescription. The doctor will prescribe antibiotics to be consumed for 7 to 10 days. If your child has a fever and feels pain in his ear, the doctor will prescribe painkillers and fever relievers such as paracetamol, and ear drops.

The use of antibiotics must be carefully and as recommended by the doctor, this is to prevent the development of bacteria that can become resistant to antibiotics. Sometimes, ear infections do not require any treatment and can heal on their own. But if there are no developments after two to three days, immediately call the doctor again.

Home Care to Overcome Ear Infection

Here are some independent home care tips that you can do to deal with the baby's ears smell because the infection is:

Warm compresses

Try compressing your little ears warmly for about 10 to 15 minutes. This can help reduce pain.

Maintain sufficient fluids

Take care of your little one to stay hydrated by giving him enough fluid intake. Because swallowing can help open the eustachian tract so that the trapped fluid can flow.

Elevate the head

Place two pillows under the Little One's mattress to improve the drying of the sinuses. Don't put the pillow directly under the baby's head.

Avoid using pacifiers

The use of pacifiers is not recommended for babies who have ear infections. This is because using a pacifier to soothe a baby who has an earache is at risk of causing recurrent ear infections.

You can also take steps to prevent the following ear infections:

  • Give breast milk for at least 6-12 months. Antibodies found in breast milk will protect the baby from ear infections.
  • If you give formula milk or breast milk through a bottle, the breastfeeding position of the baby must be semi-erect so that the milk does not flow back into the canal
  • Keep your child away from exposure to cigarette smoke. Exposure to cigarette smoke can make ear infections worse.
  • Also make sure your Little One has received complete immunization. Additional flu vaccines and pneumococcal vaccines are also good for preventing diseases in infants.


Infants and children are indeed more susceptible to ear infections, because they have their eustachian ducts smaller and easily blocked. As the child grows into adulthood, this channel will become larger, so that the liquid can be drained more easily.

Immediately see a doctor if after three days of treatment, the baby's ear smell does not heal and there is no improvement in symptoms. Especially if the little one stays fever and accompanied by the discharge of blood or pus from the ear.




National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders NIDCD NIH (2017). Ear Infections in Children.

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