Foreign Body in Ear
How Do You Remove an Object Stuck in Your Ear?
- Getting an object stuck in the ear is a relatively common problem, especially in toddlers. The vast majority of items are lodged in the ear canal, which is the small channel that ends at the eardrum. Because the ear canal is quite sensitive, you can usually tell if there is something in your ear.
- Most cases of foreign bodies in the ear are not serious and can usually wait until the morning or the following day for removal. The object does, however, have to be completely removed quickly and with the least amount of discomfort and danger.
- Common objects found in ears include food material, beads, toys, and insects. Children often place items in their ears out of curiosity.
- Although earwax (cerumen) is not technically a foreign body, it does frequently accumulate in the ear canal and can cause discomfort or decreased hearing just like other foreign bodies.
What Causes Foreign Body in Ear?
- The vast majority of objects found in ears are placed there voluntarily, usually by children, for an endless variety of reasons. A caregiver should not threaten a child when asking about this possibility, because the child may deny having put something in the ear in order to avoid punishment. This denial could easily result in a delay of its discovery and increase the risk of complications.
- Insects are well known to crawl into the ear, usually when you are asleep. Sleeping on the floor or outdoors would increase the chance of this unpleasant experience.
Ear Anatomy Picture
Picture of the anatomy of the ear
Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor III, MD
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