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Objects in the ear after care

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

The ear can become infected, even after the object is removed, if:

  • the object had been in place for some time
  • part of the object remains in the ear
  • a second, undetected object is stuck in the ear.

The symptoms of infection are:

  • pain
  • bleeding
  • deafness or muffled hearing
  • fluid or discharge from the ear
  • redness and swelling of the ear canal
  • a temperature.

Looking after yourself

If your ear is infected, you will need to see a doctor. 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.

How to care for ear discharge:

  • gently wipe away any fluids or discharge from the ear area using soft tissues
  • throw used tissues away immediately
  • wash and dry your hands regularly to prevent the spread of infection.

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).

Last reviewed: July 2015

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