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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Foreign object in the ear

Mea tauiwi ki te taringa

Object in earPeople, especially children, often put things in their ears. Objects can include buttons, beads, seeds and toy parts. Other objects that can get into ears include mud and insects such as a fly or ant entering the ear canal.

Often the object can be seen clearly. But sometimes they aren't visible, which can make them difficult to remove.

It's very important not to do anything that could push the object further into the ear.

How to tell if someone has an object in their ear

If someone has an object or insect in their ear, you may be able to see something when you look. As well, they may:


If blood or a clear or yellow fluid is coming from the ear, see Head injury first aid.

Do not put anything like a cotton bud or matchstick into the ear. This runs the risk of damaging the ear or pushing the object further into the ear.

Do not reach inside the ear with tweezers unless the object is sticking out and can easily be grasped.

Helping someone who has an object in their ear

If they have an object in their ear:

If they have an insect in their ear:

Getting medical help

See a doctor if none of the steps mentioned above are successful and the object or insect remains in the ear. You should also see a doctor if:

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed December 2022.


Page reference: 286385

Review key: HIFAD-141030