How to Handle a Foreign Object in Your Child’s Ear
If a foreign object becomes lodged in the ear, then pain – and even hearing loss – can result. For young children, getting a foreign body (like a toy, bead, food item or insect) stuck in the ear can be all too common. With the right care when there is a foreign object in a child’s ear, it’s likely that permanent damage can be avoided.
Check with a doctor for specific advice about your child. However, these steps can often help with basic situations.
- Don’t threaten the child. Threatening punishment can leave the child afraid to talk about the lodged item, and as a result, it could take longer to discover the source of pain and discomfort.
- Let gravity help. Gently tilt the head on the side with the lodged item to try getting it out. Gravity might solve the problem.
- Use tweezers for visible objects. For pliable and easy-to-grab items that can clearly be seen, try using tweezers to remove them. Don’t use a cotton swab or other tool, or you could risk impacting the item farther and harming the middle ear.
- For insects, use oil. Insect in the ear? Tilt your child’s head so the affected ear is facing up, and pour in warm (not hot) baby oil, olive oil or mineral oil. Carefully pull the earlobe downward and back, and the insect could float out. However, don’t try the oil bath if your child has ear tubes or if the eardrum might be perforated (in which case, you might notice bleeding, discharge or ear pain).
If any of the advised methods don’t work or if pain, discomfort or hearing trouble result, then consult with a medical professional immediately. We’re ready and willing to offer advice and treatment anytime.