A woman reported strange sounds seemingly coming from nowhere to medical professionals, only to discover later that she had a spider inhabiting her ear.
A 64-year-old woman had been experiencing strange sounds in her left ear that had given her problems sleeping for a total of four days, as documented on Thursday by The New England Journal of Medicine.
The woman reported hearing “incessant beating, clicking, and rustling sounds” from inside her ear, leading her to believe that a creature was occupying her left ear.
The woman eventually visited an ear, nose, and throat clinic in Taiwan for an examination, where doctors discovered a tiny spider moving within her external auditory canal.
Scientists recorded a video of a spider moving inside a person’s ear, including footage of the exoskeleton it had shed.
The spider was only a tenth of an inch in length, and the small size of this creature prevented the woman from feeling any pain, according to Tengchin Wang, M.D., co-author of the article and director of the otolaryngology department at Tainan Municipal Hospital, as reported by NBC 5 DFW.
Due to its small size, doctors were able to remove the spider with an otoscope without killing it. This is in contrast to situations involving larger spiders, in which case it is often necessary to kill them to prevent further damage to the ear.
The woman’s symptoms ceased as soon as doctors removed the spider.
Dr. Stacey Ishman, an otolaryngology instructor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, has treated eight cases where patients had bugs in their ears. Most of these cases were acquired while camping, she told NBC 5.
“Most of the time the ear is completely fine,” said Dr. Ishman. “If there’s some injury to the ear canal, quite honestly it’s more often from people trying to get it out than it is from the bug itself.”
If you suspect you have a bug in your ear, do not attempt to remove it with your finger, a Q-tip, tweezers, or any similar objects.
It is safer to pour vegetable, olive, or baby oil into your ear, tilt your ear down, and shake your head to dislodge it. However, it is still recommended to visit a medical professional, even if you successfully removed the bug, to ensure that nothing was left behind, per NBC 5.
This discovery is not the only recent instance of a creepy crawly inside a person’s head. Scientists at the Australian National University recently documented a case where a live 3-inch-long worm, typically found in pythons, inhabited the brain of another 64-year-old woman, the first case of its kind, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.