Conditions We Treat: Foreign Bodies in the Ear
Foreign objects in the ear, nose, or airway can occur with anyone but are especially common among children, who are curious and may sometimes explore their world in ways that can risk injury. No matter the person’s age, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention. Learn more, including how the experts at ENT, Sinus & Hearing Care Center can help.
What Are Indicators of Foreign Objects in the Ear?
Young children tend to place objects — peas, beans, toys, or other items — in their ears, whether emulating the behavior of others or simply being curious. Foreign objects that make their way into the ear can block the ear canal and affect a person’s hearing. Drainage, pain, redness in the ear, and hearing loss are some of the indicators that a foreign object may be in the ear.
What Are Indicators of Foreign Objects in the Nose?
Just as with their ears, children sometimes put small objects in their noses, too. In the case of adults, a foreign object may be in the nose because of an accident, a sports mishap, a fight, or other circumstance.
Symptoms potentially indicating a foreign object in the nose include:
- Drainage that appears on the side with the object
- Bad odor
- Bloody nose
- Pain in the nose
It’s important the object be withdrawn immediately to avoid soft tissue damage and potential infection.
What Are Indicators of Foreign Objects in the Airway?
In addition to choking or gagging, symptoms potentially suggesting a foreign object in the airway include coughing, wheezing, and stridor.
The above-mentioned reactions may subside, however, and be replaced by symptoms such as:
- Inability to speak
- Hoarse voice
- Blueness around the lips
- Coughing that aggravates
- Inability to breathe
- Loss of consciousness
Removing the object blocking the airway is critical. Even if the person can breathe or talk, it’s important to seek immediate medical help if they’re experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms.
How Are Foreign Objects Removed From the Ear, Nose, or Airway?
Extracting the object can be done with a suction machine or with a specialized medical instrument. In the event the object is completely blocking the airway — thus the child or adult can’t breathe and speak — surgical intervention may be needed. After removal of the object, the physician will reexamine the area and assess potential damage to the soft tissue.
If you suspect a foreign object in the ear, nose, or airway or have any of the symptoms described above, don’t wait. Contact us at ENT, Sinus & Hearing Care Center right away!