What if I Get a Foreign Object or Insect in My Ear?

Foreign objects are frequently placed in the ear by young children or enter the ear accidentally during cleaning or scratching the ear. It is not uncommon for this to lead to an infection of the outer ear.

Removal of any object from the ear can be very difficult, and should only be attempted by a doctor skilled in the techniques of safe removal. Usually this can be done in the office, but sometimes general anesthesia must be used when the object is lodged deeply in the ear or if the patient is uncooperative, such as with a young child. It is important to remember that the most common reason that an ear is injured from a foreign object is because of inadvertent damage occurring during the removal of the object.

Insects or bugs can also become trapped in the ear. Smaller insects, such as gnats, can become caught in the wax and be unable to fly out. They can often be washed out with warm water. Larger insects or bugs may not be able to turn around in the narrow canal. If the insect or bug is still alive, it can first be killed it by filling the ear with mineral oil. This will suffocate the insect. The ear should soon after be evaluated by a doctor to have the pest removed.

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