A foreign object in the ear is a common issue especially among toddlers. Most of the objects are lodged into the ear canal. In most cases, a foreign object in the ear is not an issue for concern and can wait until the morning or the next day for removal. Remember though that the object should be completely removed right away and with the least discomfort and danger.
The usual objects that are found inside the ears include beads, food particles, insects and small-sized toys. Children are known to place objects into the ears out of curiosity. Even though earwax is not a foreign object, it can build-up in the ear canal and trigger discomfort or diminished hearing.
What are the causes?
Most cases of a foreign object in the ear are usually done voluntarily especially by children for various reasons. When asking a child about this possibility, do not frighten since the child might deny putting something in the ear to avoid punishment.
Insects can also crawl into the ear, usually when sleeping. Sleeping outdoors or on the floor can increase the chance for this to occur.
Do I have a foreign object in the ear?
Luckily, many can tell if there is a foreign object in the ear. The ear canal in which objects are likely to get stuck is sensitive. The indications of having a foreign object in the ear usually depends on the shape, size and substance involved.
- In most cases, a foreign object in the ear remains undetected and trigger an ear infection. In such cases, there is continuous drainage from the ear.
- Pain is the usual complaint. If the object blocks most of the ear canal, there is diminished hearing.
- Irritation of the ear canal can cause the individual to feel nauseated which leads to vomiting. Some might cough or attempts to clear the throat due to stimulus of a nerve in the ear canal that has a division in the throat.
- Bleeding can also occur, especially if the foreign object is sharp or if the individual attempts to remove it by inserting another object into the ear.
- A live insect in the ear can be distressing. The movement of the insect causes a buzzing sensation that can be quite uncomfortable. Luckily, dripping mineral oil into the ear can kill the insect. This is relatively safe if the eardrum is not perforated.