Have you ever had something stuck in your ear? Part of a cotton swab is probably the most common thing to get stuck in an ear. However, people have had bugs, beads, batteries, and other foreign objects stuck in their ears. In most cases, you will feel pain, discomfort, pressure, or itchiness in your ear if something is stuck. You might also notice that your hearing is muffled, or you might feel nauseated or like you need to cough.
This is what you should do if you get a foreign object stuck in your ear.
If a bug is in your ear:
While it might give you the creepy-crawlies just to think about it, it’s not that uncommon for bugs to get stuck in ears. There have been cases of cockroaches, moths, spiders, flies, ticks, and other small bugs crawling into ears. If you feel like something is crawling around in your ear, or if you hear a sound that you think might be a bug, chances are good that a bug has indeed crawled into your ear and now can’t find the way out.
To remove a bug from your ear, follow these steps:
- Lie on your side with the affected ear facing up.
- Pour warm mineral oil or vegetable oil into the ear until it is full.
- Wait for 5-10 minutes. This ensures that the bug (and any larvae) are dead.
- Turn your head and allow the oil to seep out. You can gently pull on your ear to help move things around. Hopefully, the bug will fall out.
- If the bug does not fall out, flush your ear with a 1:1 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water or rubbing alcohol and water.
- If the bug is still in your ear, you should seek professional help. An urgent care doctor may be able to help, or you can see a hearing specialist or ENT. They will have the tools necessary to remove the insect.
If a piece of your hearing aid is stuck in your ear:
Although it is unlikely, a part of your hearing aid, such as the dome, may come off of your hearing aid and get stuck in your ear. If you remove your hearing aids and notice any pieces missing, contact your hearing specialist as soon as possible. They will be able to remove the part from your ear or refer you to someone who can.
If a button battery is stuck in your ear:
Since button batteries are so small, they can get stuck in your ear. If this happens, contact a hearing specialist immediately because the battery can leak harmful chemicals into your ear. Do not put any liquids in your ear.
If an earring part is stuck in your ear:
Because metal parts of earrings can perforate the eardrum, it is best to contact a hearing specialist if you have part of an earring stuck in your ear.
If a piece of food is stuck in your ear:
You can try flushing out the piece of food by using the same steps listed above for insect removal, but use water or saline instead of oil. If this does not work, seek help from a hearing specialist immediately. Pieces of food can decay and lead to infection.
If you have any of these objects—or anything else—stuck in your ear, it is important to seek professional care to ensure that your ears are not damaged. To learn more about what to do if a foreign object is stuck in your ear, please contact our hearing specialist today.