Foreign Body in the Ear Canal

The outer ear canal

You or your child has an object in the ear canal. It may have been removed today by the healthcare team. A foreign body in the ear can lead to irritation. Sometimes this can cause infection in the ear canal. If the healthcare team was not able to remove the object today, you may be referred to an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT, or otolaryngologist ) for follow-up care.

Home care

  • If prescription ear drops have been given, use these as directed. Don't get water in your ear for the next 5 days. (Don't go swimming for 5 days.)

  • Use over-the-counter pain medicine as directed. You may use acetaminophen, naproxen, or ibuprofen to control pain, unless another pain medicine was prescribed. Talk with your healthcare provider before taking these medicines if you have chronic liver or kidney disease, or if you have ever had a stomach ulcer or digestive bleeding.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider as advised. If the object was not able to be removed today, you may be referred to an ENT specialist. It's important to make the appointment and keep it.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider or seek medical care right away if any of these occur

  • Ear pain, itching, or discharge

  • Redness or swelling of the outer ear

  • Blood or fluid draining from the ear

  • Persistent hearing loss

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

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