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If you do notice something in you or your child’s ear, it’s important to try and remain calm. Depending on how deep the object is, you may be able to remove it safely from home. However if you are experiencing any severe pain or if the object stuck is sharp in any way, please seek medical assistance immediately.

Common symptoms associated with something stuck in your ear

Depending on the item and how long it’s been stuck, having a foreign body block your ear canal may cause:

  • Discomfort
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Drainage i.e. excess ear wax, pus, clear fluid.
  • a sensation of pressure in the ear
  • mild hearing loss
  • Tinnitus
  • Itchiness

In extreme cases such as the object being stuck in the ear for a long time, patients may experience:

  • Dizziness
  • Balance Problems

People with an ear infection may also experience these symptoms, and mistake the infection or simply ear wax as something lodged in the ear. If you are unable to identify what would be in your ear, please seek medical assistance or book an appointment online with MicroClear Ears for an assessment today.

Common items that get stuck in the ear

Some typical items found within the ear amongst adult and children include:

  • Rocks and Pebbles
  • Insects
  • Small Toys
  • Beads
  • Food i.e. peas, corn kernels
  • Stickers
  • Batteries
  • Cotton
  • Paper

How to remove an object from just inside the ear

First things first, do not insert anything in the ear in an attempt to remove the blocked item. Using your fingers, tweezers, cotton swabs, or other objects may push the foreign item deeper into the ear canal making it harder to remove, and potentially causing further irritation or damage to the sensitive ear canal. In the cases where an insect or bug is stuck within the ear canal, prodding at it may encourage it to bite or sting and cause more pain.

Depending on how deep the item is lodged, you may be able to get it out using some simple remedies.

Let gravity help dislodge the object

If you’re able to see the object within the ear, you may only need gravity to encourage it to vacate the ear canal. Tilt your head to the side, with your ear as parallel with the floor as you can comfortably manage.

You may gently shake or move your head side to side in order to dislodge the object within the ear. Be sure not to bang or hit you or your child’s head in an attempt to remove the object as this can cause further injury.

If the item has shifted and is now sticking out of the ear, you may gently remove it with your fingers or tweezers. Again, do not stick anything in the ear to attempt to remove the object. Be sure not to accidentally push the object back into the ear canal.

Use warm oil for bugs or insects trapping in the ear

If you suspect a bug or insect is trapped within the ear, you may wish to use warm oil to encourage it to leave the ear canal.

An insect trapped within the ear canal

Firstly try tilting your head so that the affected ear is facing upwards, towards the sky. Sometimes this will be enough to encourage the critter to crawl or fly out on its own. If this doesn’t work, oil can be used to help encourage the bug up, or float it out.

It’s important to note that using oil may not be suitable for everyone. For example, people with a history of a hole or perforation in the eardrum or ear grommets must not use liquid drops within the ear.

This method is also not recommended for other foreign objects stuck in the ear. Liquid may cause some items (like food, paper, cotton, or water beads) to swell, making them harder to remove and potentially causing more damage. If you are unsure, do not put any liquid in your ears and book a micro-suction appointment online with MicroClear ears.

If you’re confident that it’s safe to do so, here are the steps on how to use warm oil in the ear.

What you’ll need:

  • An eye dropper
  • A mild oil like olive oil or baby oil
  • A towel

To use warm oil:

  1. Take your mild oil and gently warm it in preparation to be inserted in the ear. You can warm the oil to make application more comfortable by holding the bottle or dropper within your hands for a few minutes.
  2. Tilt your head and face the affected ear upwards. You may wish to place a towel under your ear to catch any excess or spilled oil.
  3. Using an eye dropper, apply the oil into the ear using enough drops to fill the ear canal.
  4. Wait for 30 seconds to a minute to see if the bug floats up to the surface of the oil within the ear. If it does, gently tilt your head to let the oil and the bug fall out.

If the bug doesn’t come out of the ear after using warm oil, you will need to seek medical assistance.

It’s recommended that you still consult with a medical professional even if you do successfully remove the bug. Anything left behind by the bug may cause irritation to the sensitive skin of the ear canal, so it’s best to ensure that nothing remains.

When to see a medical professional for something stuck in the ear

If these home remedies don’t work, and the item doesn’t fall out of the ear canal on its own, then it’s time to seek assistance. Medical professionals have specific tools and methods such as suction to extract items from the ear canal efficiently and safely.

It’s best to seek help sooner rather than later as leaving an object within the ear canal can cause further irritation and lead to infection, or damage of the ear including the eardrum.

A patient in a reclined position receiving a microsuction ear wax removal procedure

Using micro-suction to remove foreign objects from the ears

MicroClear Ears recommends micro-suction as a gentle, safe and water-free method of removing objects or insects from the ear canal. Micro-suction allows for full visibility of the ear canal with the use of binocular glasses with a bright light attached, unlike water-based irrigation methods.

Using a low pressure suction machine and tiny metal scoops, objects will be dislodged and sucked up or out using a small plastic suction tube. Micro-suction procedures are painless and in most cases relatively quick, leaving your ears cleared within 30 minutes.

If you or a loved one has something trapped within the ear, book an appointment online with MicroClear Ears today. We offer micro-suction ear wax removal ear clinics across three locations including Stepney and Somerton Park in Adelaide and Broken Hill. Our service is Medicare rebatable, and requires no referrals. For more information on fees, please see our fees & pricing page.

If you have any questions, please see our Frequently Asked Questions section or Get in touch today.

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