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Foreign Body in the Ear

A foreign body in the ear may get stuck in the ears – most often in the ear canal in young children and mentally disabled children and adults. Sometimes foreign objects get into ears accidentally as well.

When a foreign body in the ear gets lodged it causes an ear infection, pain and partial hearing loss. A person who has got an object stuck in his ear knows it well, but infants and small kids may not be aware of it. Therefore, children are the ones who suffer from severe symptoms due to foreign objects in their ears.

The most common foreign bodies include the following

  • Small batteries
  • Cells of watches
  • Insects
  • Organic foreign bodies
  • Paper pieces
  • Pencil leads
  • Seeds
  • Tamarind seeds
  • Garlic
  • Thermocol
  • Eraser
  • Pulses
  • Beads
  • Small round objects
  • Solid round objects
  • Cotton Swabs
  • Furniture stuffing

Insects Live ones in the ear can be terrifying to the patient because the fluttering and crawling is relatively loud, and the skin of the bony canal is very sensitive to light touch.

Some objects placed in the ear may not cause symptoms. Other objects, such as food and insects, may cause pain in the ear, redness, or drainage. The hearing may be affected if the object is blocking the ear canal.

What to do when an object becomes lodged in the ear?

If any foreign object gets lodged in the ear don’t use a cotton swab and try removing it and never use a matchstick also. If you start probing the ear with these tools you will do more harm to your ear than good. The stuck object may get pushed farther deep inside causing damage to the ear.

Try removing the object if it is clearly visible and if it can be easily gripped with tweezers and smoothly removed.

To dislodge any object which is small smooth and solid, tilt your head to the affected side and try to dislodge it using gravity.

To remove an insect, use warm baby oil or olive or mineral oil. If you are pretty sure that the object is an insect, then tilt the person’s head to make sure that the ear with the insect is upward. Pour the warm oil to float insect out of the ear. But this method should not be used for children with the perforated eardrum or if the ear is bleeding or showing signs and symptoms of an ear infection

Use a rubber bulb syringe with warm water. Use warm water and irrigate the ear canal with a rubber bulb syringe. This technique helps in irrigating the object out of the ear canal. But this method should not be used if ear tubes are in place or when there is a perforated eardrum.

When to See an ENT Doctor for removing a foreign body from the ear?

If the above methods do not work, then seek an expert ENT doctor’s appointment.

Never try to remove an object which seems to be quite difficult to remove with the affected person is experiencing the sensation of the blocked ear with hearing loss.

If the affected child or an adult continues to experience pain, inflammation and drainage from the affected ear with ear irritation, itching and sensation of the blocked ear, seek medical help immediately.

Foreign body in the ear

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