Foam in Ear Canal – July 27, 2023

Foam in Ear Canal – July 27, 2023

A 5-year-old male is brought to the pediatric clinic by his parents for a well-child visit. The parents describe him as a healthy, active, and curious child. They have no specific concerns about this visit. During the exam, this image of the child’s right ear canal was obtained with the Wispr digital otoscope.

What question would you ask the child and his parents?

The child has a piece of foam in his ear canal. The question to ask the child or his parents is if they know where this came from.

As is typically the case, the child and the parents have no memory of this foreign object being placed in the ear. Oftentimes, it is a sibling or even a pet who “thoughtfully” places the foreign object in the ear canal.

This is a common clinical scenario. An incidental finding of a foreign body in the pediatric ear canal. In this case, the child did not recall placing something in his ear. Removal of this foreign body could be accomplished easily with forceps.

Children are famous for putting objects in their ears. Objects commonly seen include beadsbeansearrings, pencil tipsTic-Tacs, and popcorn. Also often found in the canal are insects such as ants, spiders, and flies.


WiscMed thanks Dr. Laura Luckadoo of The Childhealth Center for this week’s interesting case.