Foreign body in ear

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Overview

The external auditory canal (EAC) is the most common location to encounter a foreign body, particularly in children, accounting for 44% of cases, with nasal, pharyngeal, esophageal, and laryngobronchial locations representing 25%, 23%, 5%, and 2% of cases, respectively.Pharyngeal foreign bodies are most common in the adult population, however, making up 17% of cases Many physicians who work in acute care settings, especially those who see pediatric patients, will encounter foreign bodies in the external auditory canal. Depending on the specialty and location of practice, some doctors will encounter this condition more frequently. This article aims to provide physicians with an understanding of the scope of the problem as well as information regarding methods for managing a foreign body in the external auditory canal.

While more common in pediatric patients, adults may also present with EAC foreign bodies, ranging from insects to hearing aid pieces and cotton balls. The most commonly removed foreign bodies include beads (most common), paper or tissue paper, and popcorn kernels. These combine to account for just over half of the foreign bodies removed in one study.There may also be a slight male predominance, but not all authors agree on this point. Certain types of foreign bodies, such as button batteries, do require emergent removal. However, for most inorganic objects, removal from the EAC is not emergent, although, in cases of prolonged retention of foreign bodies, significant edema of the EAC may render removal more challenging and painful.

Symptoms

more intense ear pain,

redness,

swelling, or.

discharge from the ear.

Causes

A foreign body in the ear most often occurs in toddlers who have placed something small in the ear canal. It can also be caused when an insect flies or crawls into the ear. Foreign bodies in the ear are common. Most foreign bodies in the ear lodge in the ear canal and become stuck.


Risk factors

A foreign body in the ear most often occurs in toddlers who have placed something small in the ear canal. It can also be caused when an insect flies or crawls into the ear. Foreign bodies in the ear are common. Most foreign bodies in the ear lodge in the ear canal and become stuck.


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Complications

The most common complications from foreign bodies in the EAC and attempts to remove them include excoriations and lacerations of the EAC skin. As a result, it is important to document a pre-removal and post-removal examination, noting the presence of any pre-removal injuries. The EAC skin typically heals rapidly if kept clean and dry. Antibiotic eardrops can be considered as well. Less frequent and more serious foreign body removal complications include tympanic membrane perforation or ossicular chain damage.[17] These are potentially devastating and should be avoided at all costs. If the clinician is unable to, or uncomfortable with, removing EAC foreign bodies, the patient should be referred to an otolaryngologist.

Prevention

If possible, teach children not to insert objects into their ears. Make sure children under 3 cannot reach batteries (especially small button batteries), needles, pins, coins, marbles, the tops of ballpoint pens or polystyrene beads.