Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Foreign bodies in the ear: a simple technique for removal analysed in vitro
  1. S Kumar1,
  2. M Kumar2,
  3. T Lesser1,
  4. G Banhegyi1
  1. 1Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, University Hospital Aintree, Liverpool, UK
  2. 2Department of Anaesthesia, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Liverpool, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Mrs S Kumar
 Department of Otolaryngology, Whiston Hospital, Warrington Road, Prescot, Merseyside, L35 5DR, UK;


Objective: Foreign bodies in the ear are mainly encountered in children. This can often pose a problem especially in an accident and emergency department where a microscope or expert help is not routinely available. This paper presents a simple, safe, and effective way of ear syringing. The ease and simplicity of the procedure along with the equipment are described.

Method and result: The equipment consists of a “disposable” sterile kit, consisting of a 20 ml syringe, saline at body temperature and 14 or 16 gauge cannula (without the needle). An in vitro experiment was conducted to calculate the pressure generated by the water jet on the eardrum. The pressure was well below the pressure required to burst a tympanic membrane, and hence this technique is safe to use.

Conclusions: Ear syringing is an effective and easy way of removing most foreign bodies. A detailed history and an otoscopic examination must precede the procedure. The novel method of syringing described in this paper with the usual safeguards could be a useful adjunct in the management of this common condition.

  • ear syringing
  • disposable kit
  • sterile
  • perforated drum
  • pressure transducer

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests: none declared

Linked Articles

  • Primary Survey
    Colville Laird