What are the signs that there is a foreign body in the ear canal, and which object must be treated as a medical emergency?

Updated: Mar 09, 2020
  • Author: Ariel A Waitzman, MD, FRCSC; Chief Editor: Ravindhra G Elluru, MD, PhD  more...
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Not uncommonly, children insert a foreign body in their ear canal and do not mention it to their parents. If any pain accompanies purulent drainage, the possibility of a foreign body in the ear canal should be considered. A patient with a foreign body in place will not improve until it is removed.  As Noted (see DDx), batteries that have been placed in the ear canal represent a medical emergency and necessitate expeditious diagnosis and removal.

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