Ear emergencies include objects in the ear canal and ruptured eardrums.
Children often put objects into their ears. These objects can be hard to remove. The ear canal is a tube of solid bone that is lined with thin, sensitive skin. Any object pressing against the skin can be very painful. In many cases, a doctor will need to use special instruments to examine the ear and safely remove the object.
Pain, hearing loss, dizziness, ringing in the ear, and ruptured eardrums can be caused by:
Depending on the type of ear emergency, follow the steps below.
OBJECT IN THE EAR
INSECT IN THE EAR
CUTS ON THE OUTER EAR
DRAINAGE FROM INSIDE THE EAR
Some symptoms may mean you have had serious injury to your ear. See a doctor if you have:
If you tend to feel pain and pressure in your ears when flying:
Thomas SH, Goodloe JM. Foreign bodies. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2013:chap 57.
Byyny RL, Shockley LW. Scuba diving and dysbarism. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2013:chap 143.
Updated by: Ashutosh Kacker, MD, BS, Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Attending Otolaryngologist, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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