What is a foreign object?
A foreign object is anything that finds its way into the ear that doesn’t belong there. This is a relatively common problem that we typically see in children but is certainly not restricted to the young.
Sometimes objects are accidentally caught in the external canal and these can include:
- the ends of cotton buds or pieces of cotton wool
- hearing aid tips
- small toy parts
- earplugs (typically silicone earplugs used by swimmers)
- rarely, thankfully, hearing aid batteries
The ear canal is highly sensitive and as a result, most people can tell if there is something in their ear that shouldn’t be.
Someone with a foreign object in their ear may experience:
- A decrease in hearing on the impacted side
- Pain or discomfort
- An outer ear infection
- A bloody or yellow discharge
- Redness or swelling
- Nausea or vomiting
- In the case of an insect in the year, you may experience a buzzing sound or movement