MSD Manual

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Objects in the Ear

By

Taha A. Jan

, MD, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Reviewed/Revised Jan 2024
VIEW PROFESSIONAL VERSION

Objects in the ear can be removed by flushing the ear canal with sterile water or saline or using suction, forceps, or other tools. If the foreign object cannot easily be removed, a referral to an ear, nose, and throat doctor is likely necessary. The foreign object must not be pushed further into the ear canal because doing so can cause severe damage. Doctors may remove an insect by putting an anesthetic or mineral oil in the ear, which kills the insect and makes removal easier. The anesthetic also relieves pain. Younger, more frightened children may need to be sedated or to be given a general anesthetic for these procedures.

Sharp objects, such as pencils, can pierce (perforate) the eardrum (see Eardrum Perforation Eardrum Perforation A perforation is a hole in the eardrum. Eardrum perforations are caused by middle ear infections and injuries. Perforation causes sudden ear pain, sometimes with bleeding from the ear, hearing... read more Eardrum Perforation ). Perforations require evaluation by an ear specialist, but most heal by themselves over time without loss of hearing.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: VIEW PROFESSIONAL VERSION
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