Pencil Gets Stuck In Ear, But That’s Not All That Doctors Find



Children surprise and delight us but there are plenty of occasions where adults question what the intentions behind some of their strange behaviors are. This young boy was one such situation, but with a weird twist.

He decided for whatever reason that it would be a good idea to stick a pencil in his ear, except it was actually something much worse.

Anywhere It Fits

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Some toddlers and young children put small foreign objects into their ears, noses, or eyes out of curiosity. Why? They’re experimenting with the world around them and learning what happens when they try different things.

Lewis King was definitely no longer a toddler so no one, especially his grandmother, was expecting what he was about to tell them.

Bad Habits

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The statistics show that children under four years old are the most at risk of inserting small foreign objects into their ears, noses or even their eyes but it seems that some of them don’t outgrow the bad habit quickly enough.

Some of the most common objects are foods. Things like popcorn, dried peas, watermelon seeds, and chocolate-covered nuts. Lewis opted for a tiny pencil stub. Easy to go in, not so easy to get out, as he would soon find out.


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It was while Lewis’s granny, Sheila King was babysitting that this whole story unfolded. It was the family’s routine that Granny would look after Lewis while his mom was away at work.

A common enough situation but it’s still a big responsibility to look after a very active little boy. She didn’t realize just how wrong things could go under her watch.

Worst Fear

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Any babysitter’s worst fear, even granny’s that are looking after grandchildren, is that something bad happens to the child you are caring for. Sheila felt a wave of fear ice up her veins when he first uttered those words to her.

Not only was there the fear and panic of the moment the accident happened but there’s also the anxiety in the knowledge that you now have to tell mom and or dad. And you never want something bad to happen when you are looking after someone else’s child.

A Quiet Child

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Her daughter would never forgive her if something bad happened to Lewis, her pride and joy, while under her care. So, of course, that is exactly what happened. Lewis was completely silent, coloring in his room.

She should have known that a quiet child is up to something. It was silent when it happened and completely preventable if she had been watching him closely. But you can’t watch a 10-year-old all the time.

Couldn’t See A Thing

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It was only when Lewis started complaining about a pain in his ear that Sheila knew anything was wrong at all. If he hadn’t told her then it could have serious repercussions.

She looked into the offending ear hole but without any special tool on hand, it was impossible to see anything other than darkness and black. Time was of the essence now. Sheila quickly got her things together and followed the emergency plan. Would she make it in time?

Starting To Panic

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Lewis began to cry and fuss with his ear when his gran couldn’t find anything. He was picking up on her panic and the seriousness of having a foreign object lodged inside his head.

She almost had to hold his hands down as he clawed at his face, panic making the pain inside worse. Sheila knew it was time to get to the emergency room.

Time For The Hospital

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Sheila finally arrived at the hospital with the little boy in tow. By now he had slipped from panic into sobbing tears. He couldn’t understand the full implications of what the had done, but the seriousness of the situation made him very nervous.

They wouldn’t have to wait long to hear what the doctor had to say.

A Tight Fit

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Dr. Phillip Russel was the doctor on rotation that day. He looked into Lewis’s ear but soon realized he’d need much more sophisticated tools to identify where the pencil nub was. The boy’s ear was completely blocked.

Lewis tried not to wriggle as the doctor fiddled inside his ear. It was a long wait with an unknown prognosis.

Not A Pencil

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The pencil was lodged so deep in Lewis’ ear that it took a lot longer than anyone expected to get the tool around it but eventually Dr. Russle managed the nearly impossible.

He told Lewis to hold very still as he extracted the dangerous piece of wood and graphite from deep inside the boy’s ear canal. As the object reached the opening of the boy’s ear everyone was stunned. It looked nothing like a pencil at all.

Feeling Uneasy

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“You’ve done a good job of it, I’ll tell you that.” The doctor comments to Lewis on the sheer depth of the object. His Gran looks on and shakes her head in dismay. “Is that all of it or just part of it?” The doctor asks, and Lewis responds with a decisive, “That’s all of it I think. Yea, that’s all of it.”

But the doctor wasn’t satisfied with just Lewis’s word, “Let’s have another look in your ear.” He said as he tiled the boy’s head again to complete the search. What he saw inside left the doctor feeling very uneasy.

Are You Sure?

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A tiny round and rather wide object balances in the doctor’s forceps. Lewis, feeling some relief in his head, turned as soon as it was out. Everyone in the room looked at the offending object and puzzled looks spread from Doctor to Gran and then they looked at Lewis. He didn’t seem too worried that the pencil in his ear was actually a whole battery.

“That happens to look more like a watch battery to me” Dr. Russel questions the boy, “Are you sure it was a pencil?” And suddenly Lewis isn’t sure anymore, “I don’t think it actually was now…”

Worse-Case Scenario

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Having a pencil lodged inside your ear is dangerous enough, and the risks are obvious as Dr. Russle explains… “The worst-case scenario is that he gets a deep routed infection and that could affect his hearing, balance, coordination and if left long enough [he] could even go deaf with it.”

It was a lucky thing that the skilled doctor was able to find it and remove it entirely.

An Extra Hole

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“I can’t see your eardrum, which means it’s gone. It means you’ve made a hole in it. Now that can happen with things like this,” The doctor said, addressing the upset gran, “We don’t repair it or anything, it will repair itself.”

Luckily for Lewis, the eardrum is much like skin and should grow back naturally within six weeks.

Lucky Break

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Now a lucky break for granny too, according to Lewis the ‘pencil’ was stuck into his ear not that day but a full week earlier. He must have started getting a sore ear or just plain worried that his own attempts at getting it out were in fact only forcing it deeper.

Either way, gran was in the clear since none of this happened on her watch. “Where he would have got that from and how’s it’s got in there I do not know,” She admits to the camera filming her.

Not Unusual

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It’s not unusual for children to stick things in their ears or noses, or even other kids’ ears and noses but what is unusual is thinking you’ve stuck a pretty large object, like a pencil, in your ear and then it turns out to be a battery.

And while a pencil sounds super pointy and stabby it’s actually a far cry better than the danger a battery poses. A battery left unchecked could leak acid which can really complicate things.

Pretty Strange

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Dr. Russell says it happens fairly often that kids stick things in their ears and noses, “The fact that he said it was a pencil and it turned out to be a watch battery, I’ll tell you, that’s pretty bizarre.”

But “We’ve seen this kind of thing before, recently a girl with a runny nose was discovered to have put a clothespin in there!”

Bizarre ER

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The grandmother and grandson duo were chosen to appear on BBC’s television series, Bizarre ER before they even knew the strange twists that were coming up.

They have since racked up an impressive 19,155,344 views on YouTube alone.

Lesson Learned

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What was weird and a little concerning was that the boy thought a battery was a pencil. So we have to ask ourselves… Were their other objects he’d put up his nose or in his ear that he’d managed to get out successfully by himself?

Or was poor little Lewis just afraid he’d get into more trouble for a battery than a pencil? It doesn’t seem like he’ll be telling us any of his secrets any time soon, but we do hope he’s learned a valuable lesson, even if just for poor old gran’s sake.