Woman finds spider living in her ear after hearing strange noises for 4 days

A video published alongside a case report in The New England Journal of Medicine shows the spider moving around inside the woman’s ear

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A 64-year-old woman who heard strange noises for four days actually had a small spider living in her ear.

A video published last month alongside a case report in The New England Journal of Medicine shows the spider moving around inside the woman’s ear before it was removed.

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The woman visited an otolaryngologist — a head and neck specialist — at a clinic in Taiwan after four days of hearing noises and feeling as though something was moving in her left ear.

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“Subsequent incessant beating, clicking, and rustling sounds had led to insomnia. On physical examination, a small spider was seen moving within the external auditory canal of the left ear,” the case report says.

Study author Tengchin Wang said this issue is more common than people might think.

“According to literature reports, insects account for 14-18 per cent of ear foreign body,” she said in an email.

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The spider had even molted in the woman’s ear and its exoskeleton is visible in the video.

The good news is the woman’s ear drum was normal. But if she had waited longer to visit a doctor, there could have been health risks.

“Those creatures may injure (the) eardrum, if the tympanic membrane has a perforation, many complications can happen,” Wang said.

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The removal of the spider was painless, according to the report. “The spider and exoskeleton were removed with the use of a suction cannula placed through an otoscope.”

For larger insects, in the external auditory canal of the ear, lidocaine or ethanol should be used to kill the animal before removing it, so the ear is not damaged if the insect starts moving.

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However, if the insect has caused small holes in the eardrum, liquids cannot be used.

Wang described some of the symptoms people should be aware of in a case like this.

“They would have pain, stuffy ear, tinnitus or even get otorrhea (ear drainage) if those creatures (are) inducing infection,” she said.

After the spider and its exoskeleton were removed from the woman, her symptoms immediately went away.

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