Objects In Ear - Treatment

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How was an object or insect removed from the ear of you or your child? Please share your experience.

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How is an object in the ear treated?

If the object is very small the affected individual can try to gently shake it out. Pulling the back of the ear (the pinna) gently toward the back of the head straightens out the ear canal and the foreign body may roll or slide out with a gentle shake of the ear. Do not strike the affected person's head on the opposite side to try to dislodge the foreign object.

If the foreign object is deeper in the ear than be seen, a qualified medical professional should remove it. Do not stick anything into the ear to remove objects yourself, as you may push it in further and cause damage or rupture of the eardrum or scratch the skin of the ear canal.

At the doctor's office or in the emergency room the foreign object can be removed using several techniques.

  • Modified tweezers or forceps can be used to reach in and grab the object with the help of an otoscope so important structures are not damaged.
  • Gentle suction can be used to suck out the object.
  • Irrigation of the canal with warm water and a small catheter can flush certain materials out of the canal and clean out debris.
  • Some doctors have devised ingenious and novel ways to remove objects from ear canals (paper clips, magnets, glue, etc.)

Small children do not tolerate painful or scary interventions, and may need to be sedated medically to have objects removed from their ears. Often with children, the first try is the most successful, as subsequent attempts to remove an object can be painful and frightening to the child.

Insects in the ear canal are often killed with either lidocaine (an anesthetic) or mineral oil. They are then flushed out with gentle warm water irrigation.

After the foreign object is removed the doctor may put the patient on antibiotic drops for five days to a week to prevent infection from trauma to the ear canal.

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Comment from: Deanna, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 01

I woke screaming at 2 am with the distressing feeling of a bug in my right ear, it wasn't a flapper or a buzzer it was a silent little crawler, possibly a small earwig. Well, the pain was terrible it must have taken a bite out of me, and I could feel its little legs moving about inside my ear. My husband got a flashlight but could see nothing. It was very painful and scary, I lay awake for about 1 hour and could still feel the offender. In the morning I went to the doctor, he irrigated my ear and nothing came out but the eardrum was very sore and had a bright red mark on it. He thinks this is the bite. The doctor gave me antibiotic drops and said to just see how it goes over next few days. What a horrible experience! I am sleeping with earplugs now.

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