Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS), Diploma in Otorhinolaryngology (DLO), DNB (Otorhinolaryngology) , MS - ENT , MBBS
Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT) Specialist
It is that time of the year when insects are all around. Suddenly one feels a buzzing sound or an itchy feel in the ear. To your horror, one feels a live insect is in your ear, which can be extremely annoying and is like a nightmare. Insects often get stuck when they enter our ears as they cannot fly or crawl out. They try to find their way out and their movements inside our ears can be very uncomfortable, painful and can be itchy as well. Moreover, they can easily produce infection.
In this scenario, do not try to remove an insect with cotton swab, tweezers or hair clip as it will make the situation worse and can lodge the insect deeper into the ear canal, which can possibly damag the eardrum, leading to permanent hearing loss. If an individual is not certain about the potential harm taht can be caused by the insect in the ear, one should seek medical care immediately. Insects in the ear are common reasons for visits to doctor's clinic, especially in children.
If one suspects an insect in ear, one may experience pain, swelling, blood or crackling. One may even feel biting, stinging, hearing loss or dizziness. It is best to stay calm in this situation as being active may lodge the bug further in ear or cause it to move further back or cause serious damage to the sensitive eardrum
One way to try to remove a bug in ear is by tilting the ear toward the ground and attempt to wiggle the ear. Grasp the earlobe and give it a wiggle. If the bug is not too far into ear canal, it may fall out on its own. If the bug is still alive and is not too far inside of the ear canal, it may simply come out on its own. If one stays calm and keep objects including fingers away from ears, it is likely that the bug will find its way back out of ear.
One can also try to flush the ear with warm water with a dropper or a bulb syringe. This can be done by holding head upright and stretching the ear canal by pulling the outer ear and then putting a steady stream of warm water into ear. Tilt head to the side to drain out the ear. Do not try this if one suspects that ear drum has been ruptured to prevent additional damage.
To avoid stinging or eardrum rupture from scratching or biting , one may use a drop or two of mineral, baby, or olive oil inside your ear canal to kill the insect. Finally, visit an ENT specialist doctor as they can remove the insect by special suction devices. Post insect removal, one must look out for signs of infection as swelling, dizziness, hearing loss, fever, and pain. Finally follow up with ENT specialist or Otolaryngologist for the final opinion.