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Objects in the ear.

Objects in the ear.
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Objects in the ear

2-minute read

Children often poke things like small toys or beads into their ears to see how far they will go, or to try to scratch an itch.

Other objects commonly found in ears include:

  • cotton buds
  • hearing aid batteries
  • stones or fruit pips
  • folded paper
  • insects
  • seeds.

Depending on what is in the ear and the amount of time it has been there, objects in the ear can cause:

  • pain
  • deafness or muffled hearing
  • discharge or swelling (if the object has been inside the ear for some time).

Looking after yourself

If the object does not fall out of the ear by itself, you will need to see a doctor.

You could also try tilting your head to the side to try to dislodge the object. If it’s an insect in your ear, you could pour a little olive oil or baby oil in to try and float it out. Beyond these measures, don’t try to remove the object yourself as you could cause further damage.

In the meantime:

  • keep your ear well protected to avoid knocking or banging – this will reduce the risk of further damage
  • don’t block any fluid draining from the ear or try to remove fluid from inside the ear
  • if there is bleeding from the ear, cover the entire ear with a clean dressing
  • if you are in pain, get advice on the pain relief medicines you can take.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about an object in your ear, why not use healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: November 2017

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