Ear & Hearing

About Removal of Foreign Body in the Ear

While patients of all ages may present with a foreign body (FB)  in the ear, children are particularly prone to accidental FBs. The typical FB is a small part of a toy (e.g. beads, small piece of Lego). They may sometimes go unnoticed for a long time until it starts to cause discomfort or discharge from the ears.

In adults, retained cotton buds from attempts at “digging” the ears is more common.Occasionally, small insects e.g a cockroach may crawl into one’s ear. This is a very painful condition necessitating urgent attention.

In adults and older children, FBs may be removed from the ear with magnified visualisation under the operating microscope. In young children, removal under general anaesthesia may be required as it is often difficult for them to lie still to have this done. In all cases, the overriding consideration is the safety of the child.