Foreign body in ear is a common medical problem in children and sometimes in adults. Anything that gets stuck inside the ear canal can be considered as foreign body, except earwax. Ear canal is a small tube between the opening of ear and the eardrum. Numerous types of objects can get into the ear, including insects. Most of them accidentally or unknowingly get inside the ear.
Often children insert beads, buttons, cotton swabs, and sponge or paper piece unknowingly while playing. They may not realize it until parents see the foreign body or there is discharge, pain or bleeding from the ear.Sometimes, an impacted foreign body can cause hearing loss.
In adults foreign objects such as insects, ants, flies, pins and matchstick are found in the ear. Adults often insert matchstick and pins inside the ear to clean or relieve itching in the ear. While doing so, it may break or get impacted in the ear.
Sign And Symptoms Of Foreign Body In Ear
A small child may not realize if he has put a foreign object in his ear. It is sometimes accidentally noticed by parents while cleaning his ears. However, in many cases foreign object inside the ear can produce symptoms such as loss of hearing, bleeding caused by damage inside the ear or perforation of ear drum.
Discharge of pus and pain in ear are other symptoms that may indicate a foreign body in ear. It may be thick and foul odor discharge. This usually occurs when the object is present inside the ear for long duration causing infection in the ear. In case of insects a typical buzzing sound is heard, or movement of the insect is experienced by the patient.
How To Remove Foreign Body In Ear At Home?
If a foreign object is suspected in the ear, follow these tips if it is well visualized.
- With proper light focused inside the ear, try to find out what the object is. Especially in case of children where they are not sure of the object they have inserted in the ear.
- Once you have identified the object see how deep it is and the type of foreign body.
- Observe if the object is stationary or a live insect.
- Avoid removing the object with a matchstick or any other pointed object as you may push the foreign body deep inside the ear.
- Turn the head downwards and pull the earlobe backwards. Gravity may help to dislodge the object from the ear canal if it is not impacted.
- If the object is clearly visible, with the help of tweezers try to grasp and remove the object.
- If an insect is detected put few drops of coconut oil or olive oil inside the ear. Warm oil is preferred but it should not be hot. Oil suffocates the insect and it floats out with the oil when you tilt your head. However, if your eardrum is perforated do not use this technique. Instead, consult your doctor.
- You can try a magnet outside the ear opening if a metal pin is perpendicularly placed inside the ear.
- If a bean is inside the body, do not irrigate it with water as the bean may swell and cause pain.
Avoid frequent attempts if you are not successful in removing the object in first try. Instead consult an ENT specialist who is expert in removing the objects as he has adequate medical instruments and lights to visualize and remove the trapped foreign body.
Your doctor may use several medical techniques such as syringing with water, suction, removing with medical instruments and if at all necessary he may remove the object under anesthesia.