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Button battery in ear; How dangerous is it ?

Young children commonly place foreign bodies in the ear canal and nose. If a vegetable foreign body is present, do not use ear drops because they will cause the foreign body to swell.

One of the most dangerous foreign bodies is a button battery. This type of foreign body should be removed immediately. Prior to removal, the use of ear drops of any kind is absolutely contraindicated.
The electrical charge of the battery will produce electrolysis of any electrolyte-rich fluid. This produces hydroxides which will cause a severe alkaline burn. The picture above shows a severe burn of the external auditory canal which resulted in the exposure of bone over 180 degrees of the ear canal's circumference. The battery was in the child's ear for approximately three days and the picture was taken one month after the battery was removed. Healing is slow and damage to the eardrum, facial nerve, and inner ear can occur. Luckily in this patient the injury was confined to the ear canal.

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