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Objects (foreign bodies) inserted into the ear usually do not cause
significant damage. But objects that are inserted forcefully can damage the
ear canal or penetrate the eardrum.
Problems with objects in the
ear most commonly occur in children younger than age 5 and in people who have
problems with thinking and reasoning, such as an intellectual disability or
Some objects in the
ear cause more problems than others.
The longer an object is left in the ear, the harder it
is to remove. Also, the longer an object stays in the ear, the higher the chances of infection.
A visit to a doctor is needed if an object remains in the ear longer than 24
An urgent visit to a doctor is needed any time a disc
battery is placed in the ear or if symptoms of injury develop after an object
has been inserted in the ear. Symptoms of injury include sudden hearing loss,
moderate to severe pain, dizziness, or bleeding.
symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.
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If the battery
is partially out of the ear, you may be able to remove it with your fingers or
If you can't remove the battery, call your doctor. If you
are not able to reach your doctor immediately, go directly to the nearest
hospital emergency department. Do not place eardrops or other solutions of any kind in the ear in an attempt to remove the battery.
Eardrops can cause the battery to corrode quickly, causing severe damage to the
Do not try to kill
an insect that has flown or crawled inside the ear.
Do not use ear candles. They have
no proven benefit in the removal of earwax or other objects in the ear and can
cause serious injury.
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home
Small children love to explore their
surroundings. They are also curious about their bodies. To prevent children
from inserting objects into their ears:
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your
doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the
January 10, 2012
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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