A foreign object in the ear can be anything in the ear canal (the tube that leads from the eardrum to the outside) that normally would not be there. A person may put something into the ear on purpose (such as a cotton swab), or by accident (for example, a small earring). Children put many different small objects into their own or another child's ears. Sometimes an insect may crawl or fly into the ear. Whether it's the end of a cotton swab or a small toy, often what goes into the ear does not come out easily.