AfterOurs Clinics - Colorado
AfterOurs Clinics - Colorado

Foreign Bodies of the Ear and Nose

Toddler with bear coat playing blocks

Anything that enters an ear or nose from the outside can act as a foreign body and could lead to a medical issue.


The pathophysiology behind the lesions caused by these foreign bodies varies depending on the part of the ear and nose where these foreign bodies reside.

If these foreign bodies, such as organic matter and small wood particles, are in the outer parts of the nose or ear, they can cause redness, pain, watering, sneezing, headache, dizziness, and sometimes coughing.

If the foreign bodies enter the posterior part of the nose, or go into the trachea, then severe complications can occur if prompt treatment is not provided.

Similarly, in the case of the ear, if the foreign body remains in contact with the eardrum for a longer period, it can lead to perforation.


There are different types of foreign bodies of ear and nose that can be very dangerous if adequate treatment is not provided. Following are some different types of foreign bodies:

  • Wood particles
  • Organic food matter such as grain or pulses
  • Any flying insect can also act as a foreign body
  • Plastic bullets or metallic balls
  • Small children’s toys


The following are some different complications associated with foreign bodies of the nose:

  • Rhinolith formation in the nose which is a granulation formation (walling off) over the residing foreign body in the nose.
  • A foreign body can also go into the trachea and block the airway.
  • Smaller foreign bodies can go into smaller airways and result in blockage there.

Foreign bodies in the ear can result in perforation of the eardrum leading to auditory impairment.  They can also cause irritation of the ear canal leading to pain and infection.


Some foreign bodies are large enough to be seen with the naked eye and are removed with the help of forceps while shining a light in the ear or nose. Smaller foreign bodies are first located and then removed to avoid severe complications. An otoscope is used to see where the foreign body is in the ear. Similarly, an anterior rhinoscope (nasal speculum) is used in the case of foreign bodies in the nose.

Some foreign bodies in the ear and complicated nasal foreign bodies such as those leading to the formation of a rhinolith are removed surgically.

Over-the-counter pain medications such as NSAIDs are given to deal with severe pain due to irritation induced by foreign bodies. Antibacterial ear drops and nasal sprays prevent superimposed infections.

Contact us

In case of urgent medical care assistance, AfterOurs Urgent Care offers immediate telemedicine services, where medical providers are available to offer assistance. Anyone who experiences signs and symptoms requiring urgent medical attention can simply book their appointment with AfterOurs Urgent Care to directly talk to an expert. If your medical issue is not appropriate for telemedicine, we will let you know and refer you to an in-person facility.

When to visit a doctor:

Injuries due to nasal and ear foreign bodies are common in infants and children. You should visit your medical provider if the pain is severe due to these foreign bodies or you can not remove them. Immediate medical attention can prevent further damage and permanent loss of function.

Treatment for foreign bodies of nose and ear is available at AfterOurs Urgent Care. 

For more information on foreign bodies of nose and ear, see the following website: