A 72-year-old woman arrives in the emergency department concerned that a piece of her hearing aid is lodged in her ear canal. She explains that when taking the hearing aid out of her left ear, she noted that the rubber tip at the end was missing. She shows the right hearing aid with the rubber tip present and compares it to the left hearing aid with the left tip absent. This has not previously happened to her. She is accompanied by her daughter who enthusiastically explains that they tried to remove the rubber piece with pliers but were unable to do so. She offers to let the examining physician use the pliers which was politely declined. This image of the ear was obtained.
The patient has a retained portion of her hearing aid in the external ear canal.
This is a frequently encountered situation – a retained portion of the hearing aid in the ear. It makes one question the engineering expertise that placed a removable rubber tip at the end of a device that is placed deep in the ear canal! Using the Wispr digital otoscope, the foreign body was easily visualized. It was a simple matter to remove the rubber piece using alligator forceps. After removal, there was no evidence of trauma to either the external canal or the tympanic membrane. There is cerumen (ear wax) present at the 3 o’clock position.
Foreign Body – Hear aid tip
After foreign body removal
This is the foreign body that was removed:
Hearing aid tip
Here are the complete videos with the hearing aid piece in the canal, and after removal: