A foreign object that gets into the ear can be a nuisance and sometimes even dangerous. Children, especially, are very prone to getting things in their ears, which can sometimes clog them up. Fortunately, in most cases, this is not an emergency. Foreign bodies can be removed easily at home or in a doctor's office, and usually have no lasting impact on health or hearing. However, if you can't see the object that is in the ear, you should seek the help of a doctor to remove it.
Part 1 of 3: Taking Preliminary Steps
Step 1. Find out what is in the ear
We don't always know how and why an object can get into the ear, but the treatment step is determined by what the object is. If possible, find out what object is in the ear before making further treatment decisions.
- The majority, foreign objects enter the ear accidentally, usually by toddlers and toddlers. The foreign bodies included food debris, hair clips, beads, small toys, pencils and earplugs. If you know what children were doing before the symptoms of ear blockage appeared, you might be able to predict what was going into their ears.
- Cerumen fluid can accumulate in the ear canal and harden. This accumulation of cerumen can also occur due to misuse or excessive use of earplugs. Symptoms of accumulation of cerumen include a feeling of fullness and pressure in one ear. Sometimes, this accumulation of cerumen can also cause dizziness and decreased hearing.
- Insects can be dangerous and very annoying if they get into the ear. But it is also the easiest to spot because its buzzing and movement can be heard and felt in the ear.
Step 2. Determine if you need emergency help
Although annoying, the majority of cases of foreign objects that enter the ear are not an emergency. If you can't get the object out on your own, seeing the doctor the next day isn't a problem. However, in some cases, you must go to the ER immediately to prevent greater harm.
- Seek emergency help immediately if a sharp object gets into the ear because complications can occur quickly.
- Toddlers often put button-sized batteries in their ears. These small circular batteries are often used for watches and other small household devices. If this button battery gets into your ear, seek emergency medical attention immediately. Chemicals in the battery can leak out and cause severe damage to the ear canal.
- Seek emergency medical attention if food or plant debris gets into the ear. Such material can increase in size when exposed to humid conditions, possibly damaging the ear as a result.
- If you experience symptoms such as swelling, fever, discharge from the ear, bleeding, hearing loss, dizziness, or severe pain, see a doctor immediately.
Step 3. Know what not to do
Often times, irritation from a foreign object in the ear is so annoying that we act without considering the consequences. Many self-medication treatments available at pharmacies can actually exacerbate the problem when a foreign object gets into the ear.
- Do not use earplugs to remove foreign objects from inside the ear. Ear plugs are our mainstay tool for dealing with ear problems, even though this tool is not suitable for removing foreign objects. Earplugs will actually press the foreign object further in the ear.
- Don't try to rinse your ears yourself. Many drugstores and pharmacies sell ear irrigation kits in the form of a suction or syringe. While these self-medication kits are useful in everyday ear care, you should never try to rinse your ears without a doctor's help if objects get in them.
- Do not use ear drops until you know the cause of the ear discomfort. A foreign body in the ear can mimic the symptoms of ear disease. Ear drops can make the problem worse, especially if the foreign body has perforated the eardrum.
Part 2 of 3: Trying Home Help
Step 1. Shake your head
Your first aid measure should be to tilt your head and let gravity pull the object out. Tilt your head so that the blocked ear canal is pointing downwards. Sometimes, this step alone is enough to remove the object that has entered.
- To change the shape of the ear canal, pull the auricle, the outermost part of the ear (not the earlobe, but a circle that starts at the top of the ear and extends to the lobe). Pulling the earlobe can release objects, and after that the influence of gravity will release them.
- Do not pat or hit the side of the head. You can shake your head slowly, but hitting your head may only make the problem worse.
Step 2. Remove the foreign object using tongs
You should only use this method if part of the object is sticking out so that it can be easily pulled out with tweezers. Do not try to reach into the ear canal with tweezers. Trying this method on children is not the right step. It's best to visit a pediatrician.
- Clean the tongs beforehand with warm water and antibacterial soap. Sometimes, a foreign body causes a perforation of the eardrum, or bleeding and sores on the inside of the canal. This makes your ears very susceptible to infection.
- Hold the foreign object with tongs, and blister it out. Pull it gently and slowly so it doesn't break before removing it.
- Don't use this method to remove objects that are so deep that you can't see the edges when you try to get them out. Also, don't try this method if the person you're helping can't calm down. In this situation, it is best to visit a doctor.
Step 3. Use oil to kill insects
Insects that enter your ear can make you very uncomfortable due to their movement and buzzing. You also run the risk of being stung by it. Killing insects will make it easier for you to remove them.
- Never try to remove an insect with your finger as you may be stung.
- Tilt your head to the side so that the blocked ear is pointing toward the ceiling. For adults, pull the earlobe forward and up. For children, pull the earlobe back and down.
- Mineral oil, olive oil, or baby oil work best. Mineral oil is better if it is available. Make sure the oil is warm enough, but that you don't need to boil or microwave it so you don't hurt your ears. You only need a few drops of the oil, as if you were using ear drops.
- Ideally, the insect will drown or run out of air in the oil, then float to the surface of the ear.
- You should only use oil if you are trying to get rid of insects. If you feel pain, bleeding, or discharge from the ear, the eardrum may have been perforated. The use of oil in these conditions is dangerous. So, don't use the oil if you experience any of these symptoms.
- See a doctor after using this method to make sure all the bugs are successfully removed from the ear.
Step 4. Prevent the same thing from happening in the future
Tell children to keep foreign objects away from their ears, mouth, and other body cavities. Supervise toddlers closely when they are around small objects. Be careful with batteries and button discs, keep them in a safe place out of reach of toddlers.
Part 3 of 3: Seeking Medical Help
Step 1. Make an inspection appointment
If none of the above home remedies work, visiting a doctor and seeking professional help is essential. Before doing so, gather the necessary information. If this is the case with children, be sure to ask about their condition in detail before visiting the doctor because children may be more comfortable talking to you than to the doctor.
- Most importantly, you should tell the doctor what object is in the ear and how long it has been there. This information can help doctors estimate the severity of the condition.
- You also need to tell your doctor what happened next. Are there any side effects? Did you try to get it out? If so, how and what was the result?
Step 2. Find out if the ears need to be rinsed
Your doctor may recommend irrigation of the ear canal using water or saline to remove the foreign body. This action is quite fast and simple.
- Usually, the syringe will be filled with clean warm water and sprayed into the ear canal.
- If successful, foreign objects that enter will flow out during the irrigation process.
- You should not try this action yourself at home. Let the doctor do it.
Step 3. Let the doctor remove the object using a clamp
Although it may not work at home, your doctor should have a special device that is more suitable for removing foreign bodies from your ear.
- An otoscope, a medical instrument that serves to illuminate and examine the ear canal, will be used in conjunction with a medical clamp. This way, the doctor can more easily see the clamp in the ear and avoid injury to the important or sensitive parts there.
- Special ear clips or forceps will be used to gently remove the object from inside the ear.
- If the object is metal, the doctor can also use a magnet. This tool will make the object much easier to remove.
Step 4. Let the doctor remove the object with a suction device
The doctor will place a small tube near the foreign object. After that, the object will be removed from the ear slowly with this suction device.
This method is generally used to remove solid objects such as buttons and beads, not organic materials such as food or living objects such as insects
Step 5. Get ready to be sedated
This action is usually given to toddlers and toddlers. Children often find it difficult to sit still and calm during the above actions. Doctors often recommend anesthesia to avoid movement that can cause accidents and injury to the inner ear.
- Avoid eating or drinking 8 hours before visiting the doctor's office if you are told that anesthesia may be needed.
- Follow all doctor's guidelines before leaving the clinic. Your doctor may ask you to monitor your children's behavior for complications. Listen carefully, and ask any questions you may have.
Step 6. Follow the doctor's guidelines in case of perforation of the eardrum
Sometimes, the eardrum can be punctured by a foreign object. If the eardrum is perforated, your doctor may recommend treatment.
- Symptoms of an eardrum perforation include pain, discomfort, a feeling of fullness in the ear, dizziness, and fluid or blood coming out of the ear.
- Generally, eardrum perforation will heal on its own within 2 months. However, your doctor may recommend that you take antibiotics to prevent infection. The doctor will also ask you to keep your ear clean and dry during the healing period.
Step 7. Talk to your doctor about ear restoration
After seeing your doctor, you may be advised to avoid swimming or submerging your ear in water for 7-10 days. This will reduce the chance of infection. Protect your ears with petroleum jelly and cotton balls during showers or baths.
Usually doctors also recommend a follow-up examination within 1 week to make sure the ear is recovering well and there is no discharge or blood, as well as symptoms of pain
- Do not try to remove the foreign object with your fingers. This often actually pushes the object further into the ear.
- Toddlers are often unable to communicate their problems to adults, so be aware of the symptoms they show when an object is stuck in the ear, such as uncontrollable crying, redness and swelling around the ear, and tugging at the earlobe to watch out for.
- Seek emergency medical attention if flu-like symptoms accompany a foreign object entering the ear.