Foreign Body Lodged In The Ear
Ear obstruction means having a foreign body lodged in your ear. An ear obstruction can be painful. It can also be potentially dangerous, causing hearing loss, bleeding, infection, and even rupturing and causing permanent damage to the eardrum.
Patients with ear obstruction typically present to their family general practitioners. The safe and timely removal of any ear obstruction will ensure a good patient outcome and limit other potential complications.
Show Me One Child Who Did Not
Toddlers and young children are 99.99% guaranteed to push small objects in their ears and up their nose. Anything from popcorn kernels, candy, beans, beads, batteries, rocks, and Lego! Then we have the unintentional ear obstruction in the form of insects like cockroaches, moths, spiders, and flies are also known to crawl or fly into the ear canals of adults and kids while their guard is down and they are asleep.
Regardless of what is in the ear or how it came to be lodged there, it is important to remove the ear obstruction as quickly as possible.
Initial First Aid Steps To Follow At Home
- See if the object will fall out simply by tilting your child’s head with the ear obstruction facing down. If nothing happens, move to the next step.
- If you can see the object in the ear and are confident that you can remove it easily, carefully pull it out using a pair of ear tweezers with rounded tips to prevent perforating the ear or the eardrum accidentally. Take care not to push the ear obstruction deeper into the ear canal. Never try to remove the object by force. The ear canal is very sensitive and easily damaged. This could be painful and cause internal bleeding to complicate the situation.
- If the insect is alive, attempt to kill it before removing it. To do this, place a few drops of warm (not hot) baby oil or vegetable oil in the ear until the ear canal is full. Have the person tilt their head with the obstructed ear facing the ground and gently shake their head to dislodge the bug. Do not use this method for anything other than an insect. Do not use it if your child is in pain, the ear is bleeding, or if they have a tube or straw-like object in their ear.
How to kill a live insect in the ear: https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=insects-in-the-ear-90-P02828
- If you are certain the eardrum has not been injured or ruptured and your child does not have tubes in their ear, try washing the object out with a little warm water using a syringe.
- You should see your doctor immediately if you can’t easily get the object out by yourself or if parts of it remains lodged in the ear. You should also get medical help if there is any pain, hearing loss, or discomfort after the object has been removed.
Symptoms Of Ear Obstruction
The buzzing and movement can be loud and painful if the insect is still alive while in your ear. Depending on what the insect does to your ear while inside, such as piercing or biting, you’ll most likely experience some pain, hyper-sensitivity to sound, inflammation, and irritation.
The insect may try to burrow deeper into the ear for safety if it feels threatened.
The tissues of the ear canal and eardrum are innervated by cranial nerves meaning that injury or irritation to this area is incredibly disruptive and likely to drive the person stir crazy to get the object out pronto.
While adults can identify an insect with its buzzing and movements, it can be difficult for young children to determine and express or explain the cause of pain in their ear. If you see young children rubbing or scratching one of their ears, this may be a sign they have an ear obstruction, or ear infection, of any kind inside the ear canal that needs immediate assessment and treatment.
Surprisingly, if the ear obstruction occurs while the person is asleep, and they have no knowledge of it occurring, it might take a few days for the symptoms to develop and become a problem, particularly in young children.
Get It OUT!
In most cases, the ear obstruction will be removed either at home or in the doctor’s surgery with only minor difficulty. However, in some cases, the object may be too deep to remove while the person is awake, and they will need to be gently sedated for the removal procedure to be completed.
This is a quick procedure, and the person will be allowed to return home once the procedure has been completed.
Bug removal video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ja8sdeRouGE
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