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Ear Foreign Bodies


Children like sticking things into their ears! Most commonly, this happens in children aged between 2 and 5 years. Sometimes parents see what happened, but other times it happens when no one is watching. If a foreign body has been present for a while, it causes smelly nasal discharge. 

If your child has inserted a battery, this needs to be removed as a matter of emergency. Batteries can leak and cause major damage to the ear. Make sure you seek immediate medical help if a battery is suspected.

Insect foreign bodies can be extremely distressing. Putting olive oil drops into your ear is likely to kill the insect and stop it buzzing. You can put olive oil drops into the ear yourself at home to get immediate relief, before seeking medical attention.

How can they be removed?


Your doctor can use a variety of instruments to access the foreign body. It's important that your child is cooperative during the removal. So before seeing your doctor, try to prepare your child for the removal. Tell them that the doctor will need to look in the ear and take the object out.

Sometimes children don't cooperate, despite best attempts by parents and doctors. If that is the case, they may need a general anaesthetic to remove the foreign body. You may have to wait a few days for a space in theatre. If your child has inserted a battery though, this will be removed as an emergency.

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