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York Hearing Clinic Blog

What Should I do if Something Gets Stuck in my Ear?

The anatomy of your ears is incredibly delicate, and any damage to one of the various parts inside of your ear can cause hearing loss. It’s for that reason why the sensation of getting an object stuck inside of your ear can be incredibly scary.

While it may sound like an unlikely scenario, getting an object stuck in the ear is actually fairly common. This is particularly true for younger children and those who suffer from an intellectual disability or Alzheimer’s disease - but it can happen to anyone!

What items can get stuck in your ear?

While the vast majority of foriegn objects found in the ear are placed there voluntarily, mostly by children, there are a few other objects that could become stuck in the ear of an adult. These include:

  • Q-tips
  • Bugs
  • Hearing aid batteries
  • And many more.

In fact, if an object is small enough to fit in the ear, then it’s likely at some point in their lifetime your child will probably try and attempt it since they don’t yet have the awareness to understand the potential danger.

What are the symptoms of a foreign body in your ear?

The ear is incredibly sensitive, so most people can tell when they have a foreign object stuck inside of their ear due to an uncomfortable sensation. However, you may also experience further symptoms depending on the size, shape and substance of the foreign body.

These symptoms could include an infection if the object is stuck in your ear for a sustained period of time, pain, hearing loss, nausea if the object is irritating your ear canal, bleeding if the object is sharp or buzzing if the object is a live bug.

Can foriegn objects cause hearing loss?

In most cases, getting an object stuck in your ear is a harmless situation. However, there is always a chance that you could damage your hearing if a foreign body becomes stuck inside your ear canal.

Rarely is this caused by the actual foreign object though. In fact, damage from getting an object stuck inside of your ear is often caused by trying to force the object out without medical care. One of the most common mistakes is putting another object inside of your ear in a bid to retrieve the foreign object. This will only cause the foreign object to be pushed further inside of your ear, causing more damage.

How do you remove an object stuck in your ear?

While most cases of a foreign body inside your ear are not serious at all, the longer an object stays in the ear the harder it is to remove and the more chance it has of doing damage to your ear or causing infection.

In most cases you can wait to see if the object falls out on its own over the next 24 hours, but it’s always advisable to completely remove the object as quickly as possible while ensuring the least amount of discomfort and danger.

It’s important not to push any other objects in your ear to try and get the foreign object out, this will only push the object further into your ear and potentially cause further damage. Tilting your head and letting gravity force the object out is the most effective and safe method to help encourage a foreign body to leave your ear.

When should you seek medical care?

A foreign object should only be removed from your ear if it is painless and comfortable to do so. It’s likely that the item will fall out on its own over a 24-hour timespan, but if it doesn't, then you should visit your nearest emergency clinic.

Trying to force the object out on your own could result in pushing the object further into your ear and damaging your ability to hear.

Thankfully, medical staff are well trained in removing foreign objects from the ear and even have special equipment to do so. By handling the removal of an object correctly, you’ll be saving your ear from further damage and significantly reducing the chance of hearing loss.

If you have any significant symptoms such as hearing loss, moderate to severe pain, dizziness or bleeding then you should visit your emergency clinic immediately.

Are you looking for more information around hearing loss in Canada or have any questions in regards to a foreign body becoming stuck in your ear? Feel free to contact York Hearing today. Our team of hearing experts would be more than happy to answer any questions you have.

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