The auditory system of the human body includes the ear. It is responsible for detecting sound that results in hearing. It also plays a major role in maintaining the balance of the body. As the ear has a very small opening, removal of a foreign object that has entered in it, becomes a tedious task. Many a time, children complain about pain or a sense of something present in their ear. This is often due to the presence of a foreign object in the ear. It is one of the commonly occurring emergency conditions in children.
In some cases, the uneasy feeling is due to excessive accumulation of wax in the ear canal. This problem can be solved by the removal of earwax. If a foreign object is causing the uneasiness, necessary steps must be taken immediately at home, and an ENT specialist must be contacted later on. Objects like stones, beads, tiny parts of toys, and insects can cause pain and discomfort in the ear. This is why their removal becomes necessary.
Tips for Foreign Object Removal
Following tips can be used immediately at home in case a person realizes the presence of a foreign object in the ear.
- Try to identify whether the object is stationary, or it is an insect that has entered into the ear.
- Do not use a match stick or a cotton bud to remove the object as it can push the object deep inside the ear.
- Turn the head down in the direction of the affected ear and wiggle the ear pinna a few times. Wiggling may result in shifting of the foreign object and make it to fall out of the ear.
- If the object is visible, try removing it with the help of tweezers, but make sure not to push it deeper in the ear.
- If an insect has entered into the ear, try using mineral oil or baby oil for its removal. Pour some oil in the affected ear and let it stay for some time. The oil might suffocate the insect and make it crawl out of the ear on its own. Do not use this method if there is bleeding or discharge in the ear.
In case the above methods are of no help, visit a specialist doctor who has the arrangement of adequate lighting and instruments for removal of such objects from the ear.
Medical Treatment for Removing a Foreign Object
Removal of a foreign object from the ear depends on its size. An ENT specialist is proficient in safely removing the object. The techniques used by a doctor include the following.
Water Irrigation Method
This technique is used to remove objects that are not tightly bound to the ear canal. The doctor uses an irrigation syringe or a normal syringe, and a scalp vein needle catheter to flush normal water or saline into the ear. The liquid is flushed inside the ear along its side walls which results in removal of the object.
This method makes use of a special suction tip or a standard metal suction tip to create a seal of vacuum over the object which can be easily pulled out. This technique is basically used for the removal of light objects from the ear.
Method for Removal of a Hard Spherical Object
A spherical object can be difficult to remove owing to its rolling capacity. To handle such objects, doctors use ear curette or a loop of wire. The person is required to remain still during this method, as slightest of the movement can cause ear damage. The doctor carefully places the tip of the wire loop or the curette behind the foreign object and rolls it out with immense care.
Method for Removal of an Insect
The anxiety of a patient increases several folds if the foreign object in his ear is an insect. Removal of an insect can be done only after killing it because it may bite the lining of the ear canal or release toxins if disturbed. Once the insect is killed, it can be removed by one of the above techniques.
Some doctors develop their own unique ideas of removing foreign objects from the ear through experience and practice. Foreign body removal can cause complications like otitis externa, perforation of tympanic membrane, canal hematoma, ossicular dislocations, and trauma to the ear canal skin. Therefore, it is better to get in touch with a doctor to get the object removed rather than doing it yourself.