Foreign body – ear (paediatric)

Criteria for routine specialist referral via CRS

Inorganic foreign body (e.g. bead) causing minimal symptoms.

Referral information required

All referrals must include comprehensive medical history, relevant test results, summary of treatment to date and results of otoscopic examination.

Indications for emergency referral

The foreign body is: 
  • a battery
  • organic material

Indications for urgent referral

  • Severe pain, fever or bloody pus discharge from the ear.
  • The foreign body:
    • has entered the middle ear space, and/or
    • is in contact with the eardrum, and/or
  • Visualisation of the ear canal is incomplete.
  • Suspect failed attempt at removal, especially in an uncooperative child.