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 Foreign Bodies in Ear and Nose


Foreign Bodies in Ear and Nose

Michael Crawford, M.D.

These foreign bodies are incredible sources of infection of unusual bacteria and funguses that then become very difficult to treat.

At what age is this most common?

More commonly, we see more 3-5 years of age. Children, for some reason or another will be trying to sniff something and they somehow get it into their nostril. “My ear itched and suddenly it fell in.” Most of the time children will deny that they ever did it at all. “What’s wrong with your ear?” “Nothing.”

What objects are commonly found?

We find feathers, nails, coins, beads, stones, bugs. Periodically, we will find a cockroach or some other night bug in an external canal. What is the most difficult object to remove? A safety pin, especially if it has lodged open. Depending on which way that sharp point is, we have specific instruments that grab it, close it, and remove it.

Should parents try to remove the object themselves?

I would really emphasize that mothers and fathers not try to remove these by themselves. If you get the child wiggling and you have not used the proper tools to remove them, then you push them farther back. Bring your foreign body and your child to the ENT doctor to have him do it.

How can parents prevent this from happening? 

You need to watch your kids and make sure they don’t do it and certainly if you see a nose that’s running over a process of weeks and it’s always one side, think of a foreign body.

Foreign bodies can create unusual bacteria infections in the ear and nose. Dr. Michael Crawford​, Board Certified Otolaryngologist at Boys Town Ear, Nose & Throat Institute, explains what objects are commonly found, what's the most difficult object to remove and why parents shouldn't try to remove these objects themselves. ​​