38 answers

Rock in the Ear

About a month ago my 5 year old put a rock in his ear at school. I could see it in his ear, but it was wedged pretty far in. I took himto the pedi, and he said that he couldn't see a rock, but he did have a big lump of ear wax. He told us to flush his ear with hydrigen peroxide to break up the ear wax.He then checked his ear again a week later when I brought in my little ones for a well baby check. I could still see something in his ear, but again, the doctor said there was nothing. Now it has been a month and he was complaining his ear hurt. I looked in his ear and could see the rock. He let me scrape a little of the earwax away from the surface . I accidentally scraped the rock a little, but it confirmed that it is in fact a rock. He freaked when that happened. I know that if I could just get him to hold still I could pull it out myself, but he won't do that. So now I don't know if I should take him back to the doctor, who twice said nothing was in there, or if I should take him to urgent care or what. It has already been a month so I know its not going to come out on its own. I'm worried about infection because he is now complaining about it the past few days, and the earwax buildup and drainage is pretty yucky. Any suggestions?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for the advice everyone! What had originally happened was, at school he was complaining his ear hurt, and he told his teacher that he put a rock in itr, so the school called me and that is what prompted our original trip to the pediatrician. So last night when the hubby got home from work I took him into a Children's Hospital urgen care clinic. The assured me that there was indeed something in his ear, but because of all the wax build up couldn't really tell what it was, or what would be the best way to remove it. They said that with ear stuff they'll usually only try once or twice, and then if they can't get it refer to the ENT. So they flushed his ear with warm water to remove the buildup, and the pressure of the water actually popped the rock right out. It was a pretty decent size piece of gravel that the poor kid has had in there for a month! So he is very happy to be rock free.

Featured Answers

Take him to a childrens Ear, Nose and Throat specialist ASAP. They will take care of you WAY better than the pediatrician. I know this from experience.

Give him a warm bath and let him dunk under the water a few times. I had the same thing happen to me when I was little (only with a BB pellet, not a rock) and despite my mom's efforts to remove it, it never came out till one day I was taking a bath and it just dropped out. I think the warm water must have opened up the canal enough and melted the wax enough for it to come out.

Good luck!

I would suggest finding a ear nose and throat doctor. They know a lot more about the ears then the regular peditrician. I would definitely do it soon because you don't want to have long term problems. Good Luck.

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Take him to the clinic! Nobody should have to live with a rock in his ear. Assuming you are not crazy and there is a rock in there, tape it to a piece of paper and photocopy it. Keep the original for your son's show and tell, and mail the other to your pediatrician along with a note that says you will need him to forward your son's records to his new doctor.

3 moms found this helpful

Trust your gut. You see a rock, you know it's a rock, your doctor sounds like he's about as thick as a rock...find a new doctor. I wouldn't go to the emergency unless he's not sleeping or is in severe pain. But I would head a soon as possible to a walk in clinic or another pediatrician and have it removed.

3 moms found this helpful

Good grief... perhaps you want to consider a new pediatrician?!
I would definitely bring your son in right away, and at this point I might go to an ear doctor instead (otoloaryngologist, or 'ENT' doctor). I would steer clear of urgent care if at all possible. I've had ear issues, and I learned the hard way that urgent care personnel just don't have the training or equipment to handle anything specialized - they made my situation far worse.

1 mom found this helpful

Go to an ENT. They can remove whatever it is safely and check his hearing! Do not try to do this yourself.

My middle daughter had horrible wax problems when she was smaller (tiny ear canals). The ENT had her lay down on a table and he used peroxide and a teeny vacuum to extract a huge ball of hard wax from her ear. We did this several times over the years. Now we put debrox (not sure of the spelling) in her ears every week or so to keep the wax soft.

Good luck and let us know what happens!

1 mom found this helpful

Take him to another doctor. Follow your gut feeling, it's probably a rock. Although, doesn't matter if it's hard ear wax or a rock, this is an obstruction in his ear. I'm sure it's painful. After all this time the doctor should take it out, not send you home. Take him to another doctor!

1 mom found this helpful

Unless he is in pain or you have reason to believe that he needs urgent care (blood...pain...) you can take him to a clinic or a new pediatrician.
Definitely find a new doctor!

I wouldn't try to do it yourself...too risky. I know first hand Docs can be wrong-so I'd either go to urgent care or a pediatric ENT.

First, take him to urgent care and get the rock out. 2nd, find a new pediatrician. We use Greenwood Pediatrics which is basically at I-25 and Dry Creek and they are wonderful. Good luck!

Hi L.,
I'm certainly no expert on this sort of thing but I definately would start by changing doctors. I can't imagine that he couldn't see the rock if you have been able to see and touch it. Secondly I would have thought he should have taken the initiative to help get the lump of wax out instead of sending you home to do it yourself. What did he think you were there for? He sounds like the type that enjoys your money more then helping you keep your kids healthly. You didn't mention having someone that might be able to help you get the rock out on your own. I would think if you had someone who could hold your son or at least distract him you would be successful at gettting the rock out. Blessings to you. L.

Gosh, I'd find a new pediatrician. You TOLD him (her) there was a rock in there, twice now, both times, you've essentially been told you're wrong. YOU know what is up with your kid. I'm pissed just reading what happened. How frustrating for you! Go to a new one, get him to remove it (dexterity is something to be applauded, and most pediatricians have it.) I personally wouldn't remove it myself.

Definitely get a second opinion... I have found that your mom instincts are usually spot on, even if the doc says otherwise. Your doctor may do something now that he has an infection so you may want to try one more time and them go elsewhere if he doesn't do anything. Good luck!

What in the WORLD is wrong with this dr that he cannot see this rock? My son used to do this too-oh man was it a pain. He would also stuff things up his nose..lol-had to go to dr to get those out. Take him to a different doctor-plain and simple and please let us know what happens!! hugs!

So what happened? Was it in fact a rock? Sounds really painful! Did your son tell you he put the rock in his ear at school? Or did you just assume that because it looked like a rock was in his ear? How big was the rock? I find it very odd that the Dr could not see the rock with the ear light (or whatever that thing is called, otoscope??). I'd take him to whoever could see him fastest. Maybe another ped in the practice where you took him the first time? I see two pediatricians at my kids office. That way I can always get two opinions on all my kids issues. Good luck!

I agree take him to an ear nose and throat doctor... They have all the special lights and tools and should be able to help you get it out. Don't try to get it out yourself that could damage the ear or eardrum.

Good Luck

I wouldn't worry about going to urgent care or taking your son back to your Pedi. Schedule an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat doctor. I would ask if they work on children or even ask your pedis for a referral. My son had to see an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctor and my pedi refered me to a great ENT doctor. I'd refer them to you but you are in a different state. Definately get your son checked out by and ENT doc. Good Luck!

When my now 4 yar old got a popcorn kernel stuck in her ear I ended up taking her to an ear nose & throat speacailist instead of my ped doctor. They should be able too get the rock out or give you a better idea of what is up. They will also clean his ear out for you so you wan't have to flush it yourself.

Take him to a childrens Ear, Nose and Throat specialist ASAP. They will take care of you WAY better than the pediatrician. I know this from experience.

Definitely take him to the urgent care. It sounds like it probably already is infected with the drainage. Having it in there much longer could create other problems. Good luck!!!

I would just go see another doctor at an Urgent Care Center, or if there is more than one doctor at the office your doctor is in, request a different doctor and get a second opinion. Or if your brave enough, take him into the same doctor and give him a piece of your mind. Chew him out! Which ever works for you.

Give him a warm bath and let him dunk under the water a few times. I had the same thing happen to me when I was little (only with a BB pellet, not a rock) and despite my mom's efforts to remove it, it never came out till one day I was taking a bath and it just dropped out. I think the warm water must have opened up the canal enough and melted the wax enough for it to come out.

Good luck!

It's not a good idea to mess with ears...I'd take him to a children's hospital clinic.

I would suggest finding a ear nose and throat doctor. They know a lot more about the ears then the regular peditrician. I would definitely do it soon because you don't want to have long term problems. Good Luck.

I too wouldn't try to remove it myself. But what about some gently warmed mineral (baby) or olive oil? I think this would be safe (some use it as a natural remedy for ear wax) and could make the ear canal 'slippery' enough for the rock to come out. Maybe after that warm bath another mom recommended.

take him somewhere else, never bad to get a second opinion

Take him to the doc one more time. If the pedi still won't do anything, take him somewhere else.
ER's have seen stranger stuff and are able to deal with it quite easily. But, since it's not a true emergency, I wouldn't take him there (big cost, long wait, etc). I would guess an urgent care center would be appropriately equiped too.
Just don't try to do it yourself. If he squirms at the wrong moment or you tap it wrong, you could easily push it in further, which could be bad.

Disclaimer -- I have never tried this myself, and there is some controversy about it, but I do have friends who have used it with success. Check out ear candling and see if you think your child could manage sitting still for the process. I would do your own research, but here is a website to start with that has an FAQ page as well: http://www.earcandling.com

Take him to an ENT doctor that specializes or at least cares for little ones. Don’t go to the ER as a lot of times they don’t have small enough instruments for little ones ears. Also don’t try to get it out yourself, you could potentially push it back further in the ear and cause real problems. I had a bean stuck in my ear when I was six. My parents took me to the ER and the ER doctor tried to flush it out. What they did was shove it back through my ear drum and crushed the three bones you have in your ears. I had to have surgery to get it out and then finally was taken to an ENT doctor. He did two more surgeries to repair the three bones and give me somewhat of an eardrum. I got about 50% of my hearing back at that time, but now I am totally deaf in that ear. I don’t mean to scare you, but please go to a doctor that can help you and know exactly what he is doing. Your doctor should listen to you and your concerns. You have a right and responsibility to understand what is going on and voice your concerns. Good luck – I’m thinking about you!

Go see a pediatric ENT. Someone who specializes in ear care, as soon as possible.

If it were me, I'd find a new pediatrician. Clearly the one you have is not listening to you and having a pediatrician who listens is critical to caring for your kids.

Is there another doctor in the practice? Could you try to get an appointment with an ENT specialist? Cripes, he said he put it in there, you can see it in there - somebody should get it out! LOL. sorry... I would find a different doctor soon. If you can't get an appointment with an ENT then I would try an urgent care center, or maybe an ER at a pediatric hospital if there is one nearby, pediatric ER's tend to believe the more unusual things...

Hi L.,

First and foremost is getting the rock OUT...if he were my child, you can bet I'd take him straight to an Urgent care or the nearest ER! I also would not hesitate to find a new pediatrician...fast! I cannot believe your doctor did nothing! Whenever my kids have had wax buildup in their ears, the doctor himself did the ear wash thing right then and there. They also have tools in which to use to remove lodged items. So, yeah, I'd definitely find a new doctor! Good luck and hope your sons ear suffers no damage.

5 year olds should respond well to bribery.. get a cool cupcake or candy bar that he gets once you're done with the 'rock removal'
That's insane that a doc told you TWICE he couldn't see anything.. then again, maybe your son is making a habit out of doing this often?
Of course you've had the talk about why that's not a good idea.
WHEN I WAS ABOUT 3-4, i put a piece of styrofoam peanut in my ear and the doc got it out with long tweezers.. but if you can do it safely, save the money and do it yourself. Remember, BRIBERY

I would try to see an Ear Nose Throat Doctor (ENT). When my daughter was about 5, she was playing doctor at preschool with some friends and put a googly eye (one of those little plastic eyes that kids use in crafts) in her ear pretending it was a hearing aid like her friend wore. Of course it got stuck way in there. I couldn't get it out with a tweezers (too slippery), so I took her to our pediatrician who couldn't get it either. Then we went to an ENT who probably could have gotten it out with his more precise tools, but by that time, my daughter had been through so much, she just wouldn't sit still. We ended up having to take her to the surgical center so she could be put under with gas and they got it out in about 5 seconds - basically they put something really sticky on the end of a thin long tool and the googly eye stuck to it and was pulled out. That was the world's most expensive googly eye ever!!! We teased her for a week or so about her "3rd eye", but she learned to NEVER put anything in her ears again :-) The docs all said that it was good to get it out asap to prevent infection - so if I were you, I'd go see a specialist to get the rock out.

My son had a lovely blue bead pulled out by his ENT when we went in to get tubes checked out. No clue it was there - and his regular doc, who we saw a few days prior for another issue, totally missed it. ENT would be your best bet if you can get into one!

I will find a new doctor too .I had to decided to switch doctor for my son to finally be diagnosed with heart disease as he was getting sick way too much.The first doctor thought it was due to my daughter starting kindergarten and bringing back home germs.Trust your instinct.

Get a new doctor, and get the new doctor to listen to you and get that rock out!

you can buy otoscopes pretty cheap - i got mine online for about $4, then you can take a good look in there and see what you are dealing with, more than ikely they would pull it out with a long thin plier, if you have steady hands you could try and do it yourself.

sometimes ear wax can get so hard it looks just like a rock, but hard big lunps of ear wax dont come out with ear cleansers.

the reason i know this is because my son had a huge rock like piece of ear wax, the doc said "thats nothing to worry about", but his hearing was off, so i set about sorting it out myself - it was a big lump of wax that i pulled out, the size of a small marble

Can you get in with an ENT? They have specialized eqipment that the ped might not have. He might also need antibiotic drops if the rock has scratched the ear canal. That happened to me because like a dummy, I cleaned out my ear with a Q-tip and the wax scratched my ear canal. My ear hurt more than I can say, and after two ENT trips, they had to clean out the wax from underneath my eardrum. It was only after that and the antibiotic eardrops that my pain went away. I feel for your little guy.

Tell him a lady you know said never to put anything smaller than his elbow into his ear! LOL!

Good luck,

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