Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Foreign Body in the Ear Home Care

Home care for ear foreign body may include:

  • Ear irrigation:
    • You may irrigate the ear with a rubber bulb syringe from an ear wax removal kit.
    • Nonprescription eardrops soften and dissolve ear wax. Use the eardrops one hour before irrigating the ear with a bulb syringe.
    • Keep your head upright while you irrigate the ear. Grasp the external ear and gently pull upward and back.
    • Using the bulb syringe, gently direct a stream of lukewarm water into the ear canal. Tip the head and allow the water to drain from the ear.
    • Do not suction the ear canal; this can cause damage to the eardrum.
    • Stop the procedure and see your doctor if you have pain during irrigation.
    • Do not use a water jet irrigator such as a Waterpik.
  • If unsuccessful, see the doctor.

  • Never irrigate your ear if you have an earache.
  • Never irrigate water into the ear if there is a hole in the eardrum or tubes in the ears.
  • Clean the ears with a washcloth only: do not put cotton swabs into the ear canal.

Home care of an ear foreign body after removal includes:
  • Keep the ear canal dry:
    • Do not swim.
    • Place a cotton ball in the ear when bathing.
  • Do not place cotton swabs in the ear canal.

Foreign Body in the Ear Warning Signs

Notify your doctor if you have an ear foreign body and any of the following:

Continue to Foreign Body in the Ear Underlying Cause

Last Updated: Mar 17, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Foreign Body in the Ear References
  1. Balbani AP, Sanchez TG, Butugan O, Kii MA, Angelico FV Jr, Ikino CM, D'Antonio WE. Ear and nose foreign body removal in children. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 1998 Nov 15;46(1-2):37-42. [10190703]
  2. Steele BD, Brennan PO. A prospective survey of patients with presumed accidental ear injury presenting to a paediatric accident and emergency department. Emerg Med J. 2002 May;19(3):226-8. [11971833]
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