Foreign particles in the ear, nose and throat are common cause to visit for emergency services, particularly in children. Usually, they are harmless, but sometimes they can cause discomfort or infection which needs emergency treatment.
The most common problem that causes discomfort is Earwax. Technically, earwax or cerumen is not a foreign body, it is the waxy material produced by the glands within the lining of the ear canal. Earwax gives protection to the skin within the ear canal, helps the ear keep on clean and lubricated and protects it from derbis, bacteria, and water. Generally, older cerumen dries up and falls out of the ear taking with it any trapped particles. The problem occurs when something stops the earwax from falling out of the ear, like a blockage or impaction.
The most common cause of impacted earwax is wrong cleaning of the ear, generally done with a cotton swab. It simply pushes the cerumen more into ear canal Instead of cleaning it out. Sometimes, hearing aids and earplugs may also push the cerumen further into the ear canal. A small or unusual shape of ear canal can also make it hard for the earwax to fall out of the ear on its own. A growth or an injury to the ear canal may also cause a blockage.
The doctor may remove extra wax using a small, curved instrument known as a curet or by using suction at the time of inspecting the ear. The doctor may also flush out the wax using a water pick or a rubber bulb syringe filled with warm water. If earwax buildup is a returning back, your doctor may recommend that you use earwax-removal medications.