What are treatment pearls for the removal of ear foreign bodies?

Updated: May 08, 2018
  • Author: Angela On-Kee Kwong, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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See the list below:

  • Consider that an underlying illness may have prompted the patient to insert a foreign body into the ear to relieve discomfort such as pain or pruritus. [15]

  • Perform a thorough head, ears, eyes, nose, and throat (HEENT) examination in all patients, since throat pain can refer to the ears.

  • Always examine the opposite ear and both nares for additional foreign bodies.

  • Always examine the external auditory canal after the removal of a foreign body to identify preexisting or iatrogenic tympanic membrane perforations or abrasions.

  • Acetone has been used successfully to remove chewing gum, Styrofoam, and superglue from the ear canal. [16, 17, 18]

  • Ethyl chloride has been used to remove Styrofoam beads from the ear canal. [19]

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