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A to Z: Foreign Body, Ear

Having an object, or "foreign body," in the ear canal (the tube that leads to the eardrum) is a common reason for kids to see a doctor. Hard-to-reach foreign bodies sometimes need to be removed by an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist.

More to Know

Kids often put things like pebbles, beads, food, eraser tips, or toy parts in their ears, which can cause pain and temporary problems with hearing. Sometimes, an insect gets in the ear.


Most objects do not cause harm; however, button cell batteries (such as those found in watches and some portable electronics) can cause chemical and electrical burns inside the ear canal.

If there is minor injury to the ear canal, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics or ear drops.

Keep in Mind

Having a foreign object in the ear is a common cause for a visit to the emergency room, especially for kids under age 6. Most foreign bodies are easily removed.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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