First Aid For A Foreign Object in The Ear

Facts About Foreign Objects in The Ear

  • Many children stop something in their ear and it can also happen to adults
  • It usually only hurts if it’s something sharp or if the foreign body has come a long way
  • If there is a risk of pushing the foreign body further in, tell your doctor


  • Toddlers have a bad habit of putting small objects into the ear canal
  • Adults may leave their ears in the ears after cleansing them
  • Insects can fly or crawl into the ear
  • A foreign body in the ear can cause transient hearing loss or even damage the esophagus

Typical symptoms and signs

  • Items stuck into the ear can cause pain and hearing loss
  • If the foreign body enters the ear canal really hurts
  • As a rule, you know if something has come into your ear, but little children are often unaware of it or they can – or will not – tell you about it

First aid

  • Do not use swabs in the ear canal
    • Do not attempt to remove the foreign body using a cotton swab, match, hairpin or similar
    • Doing so, the risk is that you push the foreign body further into the ear canal. Here it can damage the dermatitis and the fine structures in the middle ear
  • If the foreign body is clearly visible, you can usually grasp it with tweezers and carefully remove it
  • Try to use gravity. Turn the head so that the stopped car turns downwards. Do not hit the person’s head but shake it gently against the ground, hoping to get the foreign body loose
  • If the foreign body is an insect turn the head then the ear with the insect facing upwards. Try rinsing the insect using mineral oil, olive oil or baby oil in the ear canal – you may use water. Pull your ear firmly backwards. The insect will drown and will flow out with the oil bath. The liquid must have body temperature
  • Do not use oil to remove any foreign body other than an insect. Do not use this method if it is suspected that there may be a hole on the drums, for example, if there is pain, bleeding or discharge from the ear
  • If these methods fail, consult a doctor
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