Children sometimes put things (beads, seeds, paper) into their ears. Children with uncomfortable ears (blocked or itchy) are more likely to put something in their ears, therefore all children with foreign bodies (FB) should be assessed for other ear conditions. If a soft FB (ie a pea or play dough) stays in the ear canal, an infection may develop, resulting in a discharge.
In adults the foreign body is often a cotton bud end, a twig, seed, a broken ear plug or a hearing aid component.
Occasionally an insect or spider makes their way into an ear.
Safe removal of foreign bodies requires skill, specialised instruments and microscopic vision.
Don’t try and remove them yourself – tweezers or forceps often push the FB in deeper and can cause trauma/injury.