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March 1995

The Use of Silly Putty as an Ear Plug

Author Affiliations

St Louis, Mo

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1995;121(3):354. doi:10.1001/archotol.1995.01890030080018

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Oneeases of childhood is otitis media that historically accounts for a large percentage of health care in the first 5 years of life. Ventilation tubes are a common way to manage recurrent acute otitis media and chronic middle ear effusions. Protection from water exposure is an important issue as it may contribute to infection. We would like to share an unfortunate case involving Silly Putty used as an ear plug. Many physicians and the lay press suggest that this material is a good option for prevention of water exposure as it is easily moldable and readily available.

This child underwent an examination under anesthesia for an external canal filled with Silly Putty. Removal was made difficult because this material softens at body temperature. Silly Putty had gone through the tube site perforation into the middle ear. Some had become incorporated in the fibrous layer of the tympanic membrane. Removal required

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