Foreign objects often get lodged in various hollow orifices of human beings. These objects either get stuck accidentally or sometimes it is a deliberate action. A foreign body in ear is very common medical issue among toddlers but less often in adults. Young children out of curiosity may stick different objects in their ear.
Common foreign bodies found inserted in ear are beads, cotton swabs, pins, pieces of paper, button, matchstick, marble and insects. They are mainly lodged in external ear canal. It is a small hollow passage which extends from the outer ear to the eardrum. Since ear canal is a sensitive structure, patient comes to know if an outside substance inserts in his ear canal.
However, children often do not realize until it is seen by their parents or there is a discharge and pain for which parents consult a doctor. Most foreign objects in ear cause uneasiness, discomfort or mild pain, but it is not serious to health. Patient can wait for few hours till he consults an ENT specialist if he fails to remove it in one or two attempts at home.
Symptoms Of Foreign Object In Ear
Foreign object in the ear canal of children often remains unnoticed and symptomless for a long period of time until parents observe it while cleaning their child’s ear. But many times it can produce pain, hearing loss and bleeding due to perforation of ear drum.
Foreign objects which stay for long time in the ear can lead to discharge of pus and blood from the ear. It is because of secondary bacterial infection caused due to presence of foreign body in the ear.
Adults usually realize the foreign body as soon as it is lodged inside their ear. Insects, pins and cotton swab are most common foreign objects detected in ear canal of adults. Insects produce typical buzzing sound which is quickly noticed by an adult.
Many adults have the habit of inserting matchstick and pin in their ear to alleviate itching or to remove wax. It may accidentally break and get lodged in the ear. Sometimes it causes damage to the eardrum which produces immediate bleeding and hearing disturbance.
How To Remove Foreign Object In Ear?
If you suspect a foreign object inside the ear, try to follow given tips:
- Foreign objects are usually visible inside the ear in bright light. Focus torchlight inside the ear.
- Once the object is visible, try to identify its type, size and depth of impaction inside the ear canal. Find out whether it is a moving insect or a fixed object.
- Do not try to remove the object with a pointed instrument like needle or a matchstick, because both can damage the eardrum and worsen the situation. They can even push the object deeper in the ear canal.
- Sometimes a loose foreign body may come out of the ear if you tilt your ear downwards towards the ground. Because of gravitation, the object may fall out. It usually is valuable in small beads, grains that get inserted in the ear.
- In case the object is not superficial and easy to reach with tweezers, make use of it. Gently try to grasp the object and pull out from the ear.
- If it is a live insect in the ear, the treatment at home may slightly vary. Put few drops of warm oil in the ear. Insects usually get suffocated in oil and float. Now tilt your head towards ground so that gravitation helps to pull out the insect together with oil. But if your eardrum is perforated, do not use this procedure.
- Since beads and seeds can enlarge in size once it comes in contact with water, avoid irrigating water to remove them. Instead wait for the doctor to remove such items.
These attempts should only be tried once or twice at home. If you are not successful in removing the impacted object in the ear, do not worry. Take an appointment of an ENT specialist for its removal. Doctors can remove them with the help of various medical instruments.
One of the easiest methods they use is to irrigate the ear canal with water filled in a syringe. Water is pushed with force in the ear and the back pressure from ear drum helps to dislodge the object. Many times children require to be anesthetized for removal of foreign object if they are not cooperative in removal of the object.