Objects or Insects in Ear
John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
- Objects or insects in ear overview
- What are causes of objects in the ear?
- What are the symptoms of an object in the ear?
- When should I call the doctor for an object in the ear?
- How is an object in the ear diagnosed?
- How is an object in the ear treated?
- What are some other types of ear emergencies?
- Find a local Ear, Nose, & Throat Doctor in your town
Objects or insects in ear overview
Foreign objects in the ear are common reasons for emergency room visits, especially in children. The majority of these foreign objects are harmless. Some are extremely uncomfortable (insects or sharp objects) and some can rapidly produce an infection (food or organic matter) requiring emergency treatment. If a person is not certain of the potential for harm in regard to an object or insect in the ear, seek medical care immediately.
What are causes of objects in the ear?
Most objects that get stuck in the ear canal are placed there by the person themselves. Children who are curious about their bodies and interesting objects, are the group most often has this problem (children aged 9 months to 8 years). Beads, food (especially beans), paper, cotton swabs, rubber erasers, and small toys are the most common foreign bodies.
Ear wax is a naturally occurring substance in the ear canal but can become a problem when it builds up to the point that it clogs the ear canal, and causes hearing loss or pain. Overuse of cotton swabs such as Q-tips to clean the ear can actually push wax and skin cell debris further into the canal and pack it against the eardrum causing symptoms.
Insects can also fly or crawl into the ear canal. Usually this happens while sleeping on the floor or outdoors (for example, camping). This is often a frightening and dramatic event as the insect's buzzing and movement is very loud and sometimes painful.
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