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Foreign Body, Ear (cont.)

Ear Foreign Body Symptoms

Fortunately, most people can tell if there is something in their ear. The ear canal, where most objects get stuck, is very sensitive. The ear canal ends at the eardrum, which is also highly sensitive. The symptoms of having a foreign body in the ear largely depend on the size, shape, and substance involved.

  • Occasionally, a foreign body in the ear will go undetected and can cause an infection in the ear. In this situation, you may notice ongoing infectious drainage from the ear.
  • Pain is the most common symptom. If the object is blocking most of the ear canal, you may experience a decrease in hearing on that side.
  • Additionally, irritation to the ear canal can also make you nauseated, which could cause you to vomit. Some people may also cough or clear their throat because of stimulation of a nerve in the ear canal that also has a branch in the throat.
  • Bleeding is also common, especially if the object is sharp or if you try to remove it by sticking something else into your ear.
  • One of the most distressing experiences with this problem is having a live insect in the ear. The insect's movement can cause a buzzing in the ear and may be quite uncomfortable. Fortunately, dripping mineral oil into the affected ear will usually kill the insect. This is safe as long as you do not have a hole in your eardrum.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/28/2014
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