What Do I Do If I Get Something Stuck in My Ear?

We know, this sounds like it would be something that rarely happens. While we certainly wouldn’t call it an everyday occurrence, it does happen more than one might think. From bugs to buttons, to Tic Tacs, to any number of other things—gross and otherwise—getting things stuck in your ear does happen. The question is, what do you do about it?

What To Do If Something is Stuck in Your Ear

Step one: don’t panic! The absolute worst thing you can do is try to jam something in there. We know what you’re thinking, but no, a Q-Tip is a terrible idea. The chances of getting something out with a Q-Tip are next to zero. The chances you will push the object further in and possibly do serious damage are significantly better. 

The next worst option is to start pushing on your ear with your finger, mashing it around, hoping to dislodge the intruder. Again, you’re much more likely to force the object further into your ear.

So, what to do? Whatever is stuck in there, especially if alive, can really drive you nuts. Before we get to treatment, here are a couple of questions to ask yourself:

  • Is there any chance this critter has ruptured my eardrum?  Extreme pain would be a good indicator.
  • Do I have tubes in my ears?
  • Do I have a history of a hole in my eardrum?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, go to urgent care.  You’re more likely to do more harm than good. Let the professionals handle it.

Getting a Foreign Object Out of Your Ear

If the answers to the above questions are no, then you have options. The first would be to lay on your side, bad ear up, and have someone pour neutral-temperature mineral oil or vegetable oil in your ear. Fill it up. Not too hot or cold on the oil. If so, you will not only have a critter in your ear, but you’re also going to be very dizzy. 

Back to the oil. The reason for the oil is to suffocate the intruder, as well as any possible offspring (sorry for that visual). After about ten minutes, turn over and let it run out. You should be rewarded with the eviction of your unwanted guest. 

If not, use a mix of 1:1 water and alcohol or water and peroxide to rinse the ear out with a syringe, which you can pick up at any drug store. For people with new families or those who just save everything, a nasal aspirator (my family called it the “booger sucker”) works pretty slick. Remember: the water should be at a neutral temperature. Be careful about pressure. Don’t try to make it a fire hose.  Your eardrum isn’t the strongest membrane on the block. Most times, this will do the trick. If multiple rinsings don’t do the trick, again, it’s time to call in the professionals.  Head to urgent care.

Foreign objects in ears can be scary, especially if you’re a new parent…or if it’s really crawling around in there.  Following these simple steps should ensure that, soon, this will all be a very entertaining memory.

If you have questions about your hearing or hearing aids, please give us a call at 320.252.0094, look up us online at amdahlhearing.com, or email us directly at info@amdahlhearing.com

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.